I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to travel abroad during my college years. Yet, here I am, about to leave for China. My study abroad group and I will be traveling for thirty-six hours to arrive in Xiamen, China. I have absolutely no idea what to expect when I arrive in China. We received a packet of information that includes packing details and a brief idea of how our trip will be organized. The packet emphasized that we must pack light and bring only the necessities. I suppose packing should have taken only a short time, but I struggled with deciding what to bring along with me on a journey across the world. The nights before the trip were filled with excitement and worries. I was questioning and doubting if I would enjoy myself in a country that is so different from any other place I have ever traveled to. Numerous questions entered my mind: would I improve my Chinese while I was abroad? Would I enjoy the food? Food was indeed a worry of mine: I had a soy allergy. Chinese food contains large sums of soy and that could be a major issue for my health. Several people asked me why I would travel to a country that uses so much of the very thing that could make me extremely sick. The answer was simple: I needed this trip. This trip would benefit me in more ways than one. I would have the opportunity to travel across the world and experience a new culture. My Chinese language skills would be put to the test and I would be immersed into a country that I had only seen in movies, news, or read in books.
Although I was filled with anxiety, I realized that this trip could be a once in a lifetime adventure. My worries began to slip away as I thought of the knowledge I would gain from my studies, the experiences I would have from the Chinese culture, and the memories I would make with my fellow study abroad classmates.
The picture above was taken in the Birmingham Airport.