End of Study Abroad – Reflection

The last four days of my study abroad in Shanghai experience I rented an apartment from airbnb.com which was ‘off-the-grid’ so I’m writing this blog after a 35 hour plane and airport experience, in Louisville, KY.  Studying abroad changed my perspective on life in ways I could not have predicted.  I have to admit I don’t currently miss China because I had become a bit homesick and was looking forward to coming home. (This probably relates to the graph we were shown in orientation.)

I absolutely LOVED the classes I took.  I took and intro to Chinese class which proved to be very helpful in getting around, asking questions or talking with the locals.  I also took an International Business class with two highly experienced expats as Professors.  I have to say this was one of the most valuable parts of my experience.  One professor was very experienced in the corporate world, the other in entreprenuership.  While I am an accounting major and plan to sit for the CPA exams, my real goal is to be a health/beauty/wellness entreprenuer (the vision is still in development).  I was able to talk to the professors about my interests outside of the conventional business school ciriculum and they connected me to people in Shanghai in the field.

As far as the group of students, I honestly didn’t stick with them much.  I was not much on sticking to an itenerary, preferring to follow my heart wherever it led.  I did so many amazing things in Shanghai.  I heard a few other students mention they didn’t feel they saw everything they wanted to see.  This is why I think not sticking to an itenerary was the right choice for me; I did literally everything I wanted to do and more.  I found it almost impossible to get lost in Shanghai due to the comprehensive metro system (believe me, I tried).

My fears about ‘making the first move’ have greatly decreased.  Studying abroad helped me see that if I have a clear goal in mind I can make it happen, even if I don’t know how yet, and given enough time to work with.  I was so fearful that I wouldn’t have the funds to go but working extra beforehand, budgeting well, and being open-minded caused me to have ample money while in China and lots leftover.  I also broke through some fears with a personal business project, as I took a few leaps and started building my website and purchased some small capital equipment.  These are two things I would have avoided because of the fear of failure and ‘not making the right choice’.

In the end, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.  I agree with Elizabeth, that travel is addictive, as I have made plans to go to Europe (or Brazil!) next summer.  I highly recommend China as a travel destination.

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