In just two weeks, I will be on my journey to Tianjin, China. It is amazing how fast this semester flew by, and that it is already the last week of classes and finals. Luckily, my finals end somewhat earlier in the week, so I am able to go home for a couple days before I take off. I’m a little bit nervous about saying goodbye to friends and family for the whole summer, but it will be worth it. So much needs to get done before I am ready to leave!
At this point, figuring out what to pack is one of my last tasks to complete before I leave. It is a three month program, and I have absolutely no idea how much to bring. I always over pack, but for this trip I limited to suitcases less than 50lbs. I know I will be buying clothes, food, gifts, etc. while I am abroad and will need to have room to take them back with me.
Although this will not be my first time out of the country, it will be my first trip going alone. When planning my flights, I purposely planned to meet up with another friend going on the same trip. Thankfully, this means I will only be alone for one flight and one airport. I also found out that my roommate for this summer coincidentally is on the same flight and around the same area on the plane too! With a flight over thirteen hours long, the more friends, the better.
My previous travel experience consists of Norway and Sweden for a high school orchestra trip, Spain for a high school trip, as well as Canada and Hong Kong on family vacations. I love to travel and am so excited have this opportunity to go abroad. This study abroad program is built just for UW-Madison students and is a language intensive program. I will be learning a whole year’s worth of Chinese and more in this quick three months (and trust me, that is a lot of new Chinese to take in). In addition to my new university professors, a couple of the professors and TAs from UW-Madison travel with us and teach while we are abroad. One the volunteers traveling with us is a teacher I’ve had for the past four years. I am so thankful he is going. It makes me much less nervous knowing that I will be familiar with at least a little bit of everything new going on.
I am so excited to improve my language skills. I can’t wait to experience the food, the travel sites, and everything Tianjin and the neighboring cities have to offer. Hopefully all goes well in the next couple weeks filled with school, exams, packing, and goodbyes. Then off to China!