Questions/Comments?Contact Us

« Previous Week 4: Nanjing | Main | One Month After Nanjing Next »

After Nanjing: 2 weeks later

Two weeks after I have returned (I stayed longer in Asia with my actual family, so sorry for the blog delay all!) these are my reflections. I’ll be taking you through some of my thoughts through three of my favorite pictures from the trip.


This is us (some of us at least) at the San Francisco International Airport. It’s still cold. We’re experiencing our last few hours of decent weather before we get into a humid oven, and we don’t even know it. We’re sad to leave our families, or maybe happy. Either way, any thoughts of home don’t compare to how excited we for the adventure that awaits. We’re a bit anxious to get through security but at least we have each other! Each other… oh yeah it’s kinda awkward because we all just met around five minutes ago, huh? Yeah. What was that kid’s name again…? Marie? Oh! Almarie, right…!! She seems nice!! Are we gonna become good friends? Are we all going to know each other pretty well by the end of this trip? I guess we’ll find out...


It is now around the middle of the trip, and I look up at this digital board.. Thing. Wow. Much better than in the states. When is my bus (bus 20!) coming? Oh, it says in the new Mandarin vocan I learned just last week that there are two stops until it arrives! Great. Time to get my wallet out and get my transportation card! Man… why is it so humid. As if the walk from home wasn’t already far.. Ah… Well, at least the red bean soup my host mom gave me for breakfast this morning was pretty good! It’s so peaceful here at the stop, even though there are a lot of people here… I guess people don’t talk to strangers (Sarah I think that’s normal, it doesn’t happen in the States either). Okay but at least everyone here is feelin’ the heat and I’m not the only one who’s sweating… Man I was not expecting it to be this hot here!


“Guys let’s take our last selfie!” I shout, as everyone crowds around my phone opened to the Snapchat app. We’re all having mixed feelings right now. It’s so hot and we’re all gross and sweaty but we don’t want to leave this plaza we’re at even though it’s super humid and ew because it’s our last day!! We don’t want to say goodbye to each other, not after this whole month of growing closer and closer to each other. We realize we may never see each other again… We’re not ready to leave!!

I’m sorry for looking down on the program. I was extremely hesitant to go at first because my first choice was one of the entrepreneurship programs. But, I didn’t want to waste this chance so I took it and took a leap out of my comfort zone. And, when I was catching up with my mom back when the program was over and I was reunited with my family, I realized that I enjoyed the trip so much more than I had expected. I actually had fun learning a completely different language in a completely new place!! What!?? I made friends!! What?? I have a family in China now that I treasure so much!! What?? I feel like a master of public transportation now!! What?? (Especially on that one -- I’m terrible at understanding public transport!!).

Because of this program, my entire view on culture has changed. I realize, admittedly, that I had some pretty negative stereotypes about the Chinese culture before the program, such as China being gross and dirty and a total dump. Well. Maybe not a total dump, but you get the point. Once I got there and really got to experience living in China, I saw how I was totally wrong because it’s so clean and there are even people who sort through trash to recycle goods and etc etc etc! Similarly, one by one, my stereotypes began to be countered and now my view has totally shifted. This would not have happened without being in this program. It also wouldn’t have happened the same way it did if I just independently went to China. Through the program I was able to have a more insightful experience because I stayed with a host family (not a hotel) and Into the Community gave me a chance to converse with locals.

In conclusion, if I could sum up the trip in one word (which is almost not possible do you realize how hard this is??????) it would be: swell. Shoutout to the ones who know me and get the reference. But really though, this trip was super swell in many aspects, not just “i had fun.”. I learned a lot, and grew a lot. Hey, the world is your classroom. Make the most out of it!

-Sarah H. 

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!