I am so ready to go to China. I am getting all packed, and trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for the long, 13hr and 44 minute flight to Beijing. I flew to China last summer on practically the same direct flight, so I know what to expect, but I have never flown to another country all by myself. This will be very interesting!

Currently, my room is looking frazzled because it’s difficult trying to think about everything that I’ll need. I have a very organized packing list, and this past week my mom and I have been running around to different stores trying to get the little odds and ends that I’ll need in China. My friend Kamryn just got back from her study abroad trip in Shanghai, and she suggested that I keep a journal to keep my thoughts organized, and write down some goals that I want to accomplish. I thought that this was a fantastic idea, so I have a little journal that I’m bringing with me everywhere to write down anything that I find interesting, goals, reflections on the day, etc. I already know I have to pack 8 pounds of textbooks that I’ll need for my 12-credit summer, and I haven’t even started packing clothes!

Luckily, I have gotten some great advice on what to pack and what not to pack from several people who went to Tianjin last year on the same program. I also received some advice on what sights to see and what to do on my trip, especially during the week-long break halfway through the program. On WeChat, the messaging app used most commonly in China, all of the students going have a group chat where a lot of questions have been asked already about cell service and how to handle money in China. I think that those two issues  have definitely been some of the most confusing things that I’ve had to figure out.

While I’m arrive, I plan on going on as many adventures as I can and really soaking it all in by being in the moment and not on social media as much. I can’t wait to meet new people and be the good kind of exhausted, from a long day exploring and speaking Chinese! This trip will be the longest that I have ever been away from my parents, since I’m living at home most likely all 4 years of college, and I’m kind of nervous but also yet really excited to be on my own. I can expect that I’ll feel a little bit strange and out of place because I’m in a different country where I look Chinese, but can’t actually speak Chinese all that well yet. However, I plan on embracing those opportunities to speak Chinese the entire trip and hopefully get more and more confident.

This is going to be a great summer, and I can’t wait to share with you a lot of highlights!