Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 37: When You're Gone

Picture 1 and 2: It is hard to say bye. 

Picture 3: Jared R and Patricia's hostel
Picture 4: Malia got a boy's room in her relative's house
Picture 5: Alice got to stay at a fancy hotel after sitting on a plane on the runway for more than three hours.
Picture 6: Cindy and Christine's roomy B&B
Picture 7: Cindy and the gang found the legendary Astor Hotel as described in the course pack reading!
Picture 8: The chaotic and frustrated crowd at Shanghai Pudong Airport after hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in the past two days. 

It's hard to believe that today was our last day together in China. After a quick meeting in the lobby to say our goodbyes, we all went our seperate ways, some of us flying out immediately (though we just learned that they are still stuck at the airport in Shanghai after many hours of wait due to the continuous rain storm in the past couple of days), and some of us staying with relatives or in a hostel. At times it's felt like the Dialogue flew by, and at other times it felt like it would never end. Before coming to China, I don't think any of us had any idea how amazing this entire trip would be. Although some of us got sick, and some of us got lost a few times, and we had our fair share of awkward moments trying to crash through the Chinese language barrier, I can't begin to explain how lucky I am to have been accepted to this dialogue. I've felt my own grasp on the Chinese language massively improve, I've gained insight into an incredibly intricate culture, and I've made some great friends along the way. 

During the six months between being accepted and actually leaving for China, I used to read the previous blogs to try to get an idea of what the Dialogue would be like. To any future Dialogue students reading this, you're in for the time of your life. The workload can be hard to handle at times, and China can be a little dirty, but there's nowhere else that I would have preferred to spend my past few weeks. While I may have dropped my phone off of a bike and lost it permanently, got pickpocketed at a sketchy club, got sunburnt, sick, and gotten harassed by street vendors, all my bad experiences became hilarious stories the next day, so don't let your bad experiences keep you from having fun. Right now, you might be feeling apprehensive about the trip, or you might be second guessing everything. Just know that those six weeks are filled with valuable language experience, new friendships, fascinating cultural differences, and a whole lot of fun. Our dialogue group has truly become a family over these few weeks, and I can't wait until fall semester so we can reunite again. 

- Jared R.

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