Adventure is out there: Go abroad
If you had asked me at the beginning of my freshman year whether I ever would have wanted to study abroad in China, I would have looked at you like you were insane.
“China?” I would’ve said, shooting you a skeptical look. “You mean, crowded, polluted, communist China?”
Yet it was this very country I found myself in this past June. It was China where I hiked a daunting mountain in socks and sandals, China where I wandered the peaceful back alleyways of a rural, historic town.
In China I attended my first two fashion shows, and in China, I biked 10 kilometers down a gloriously empty, verdantly lined road, ending my journey at a quirky, modern green frog-themed cafe. It was this complex, amazing country where I spent five weeks learning and adventuring with the Pacific Summer Program in China.
I suppose the real question I must ask myself is, why didn’t I want to study abroad sooner? Why was I so resistant to the idea of travelling somewhere new and exciting, somewhere I’d never been before? Why was I so convinced that my experience abroad would be a lackluster one?
To start with, a couple common concerns regarding studying abroad that I and many students shared is finances and logistics. There was airfare to consider, for one. A passport renewal was in order. And piles of paperwork?
Well, it just didn’t sound like a pleasant pre-summer experience. Yet, as countless other Tigers and I can attest, going through the University of the Pacific’s summer programs provides painless alternatives to setting up a trip by your lonesome. The paperwork process is streamlined and efficient.
Another vital anxiety on my part was not speaking the language. It seemed foolhardy to want to travel to a foreign country without even knowing the basics… right?
Well, not exactly. As it turns out, travelling to China to learn Chinese was extremely beneficial. It might sound cheesy, but after our daily lessons at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the various shops and restaurants served as our classrooms.
We picked up countless bits and pieces of practical knowledge and culture from our interactions with the locals — information that we wouldn’t have otherwise learned in a stuffy classroom back in the States.
Studying abroad through Pacific provides an amazing opportunity to experience the nuanced differences of the life and culture of another country — all while resting easy under the gentle guidance of learned professors and the enriching tips of older students. If you’re not quite ready to spend a whole semester in a foreign country, consider Pacific’s summer immersion programs in Guatemala, Italy or China. You won’t regret it.
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