|Future Veronica photobombed by friends in China.|
If I were to build a time machine and go back in time to tell freshman Veronica that she would study abroad two times in two different countries before she graduated, freshman Veronica would think future her was crazy. Over the Winter 2016 Semester I was blessed to have a second opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China. Even though it was a last minute decision, I can say that this experience changed my life once again. Before studying abroad in China, I spent a semester in Nice, France. Well, France and China couldn’t be more different from each other. As I got on the plane and started my journey to the Far East, I began to question my decision and myself. Was this the right place to study abroad? Will I be able to survive without knowing the language or without Facebook for one month? (The use of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is banned in China.) I was expecting to be in complete culture shock as soon as I landed in China. Well my expectations were correct.
I had never experienced that much culture shock since my trip to Morocco, except it was a very different type of culture shock. As we took our stop in Japan, we began to enter what seemed like the future. Finally after twenty-four hours of traveling we finally arrived in Shanghai, or I should call it the future. The bright lights and the metro were just two things that felt like the future for us. The first time taking the metro was an experience in itself. First you are overwhelmed by the amount of people rushing to catch the train, then you are overwhelmed by the amount of futuristic vending machines selling anything from Sony Headphones to freshly squeezed orange juice, finally you are overwhelmed by the skill needed to actually get on the train without being closed in the doors. Besides my fear of the metro, the other culture shocks I experienced in Shanghai were well worth it.
Everyday the other students and I would try our best to try every type of street food Shanghai had to offer and even try to speak Chinese, or what sounded like Chinese to us, with the locals. We all felt like we were gaining about two hundred pounds but thankfully all the walking we did exploring evened it out for us. I would say the only negative side to studying abroad in Shanghai was the amount of time we had there. We wanted to do so many things but since we only had three weeks and had to attend Chinese classes every day it made it difficult to complete every adventure. Nonetheless studying abroad in Shanghai has given me not only unforgettable memories but also valuable friendships. After we left China, some other students and I even got to take a four-day stop in Japan. I’m so grateful to have received the study abroad scholarship and the student government travel grant in order to make this experience possible. Xie Xie!