I’ve known for quite a while that I’ll be going to China but it’s only now as things come down to the wire that I’m really allowing myself to get excited by it.  Thinking of meals shared with friends via giant Lazy Susans and being crammed into a karaoke parlor room to partake of snacks and pop songs fills me with a unique kind of happiness.

I can’t wait to meet not only native Chinese but also people from around the world who have been attracted to the city of Shanghai.  The big city provides a great backdrop for mingling with those who have a variety of perspectives and interests. I’m especially excited to take classes about China in the actual country.  I expect that I’ll learn plenty of new things and gain a better understanding of how the Chinese view themselves. During the upcoming months I’m also hoping to learn somethings about myself as I prepare to go to graduate school and plan a direction for my future.

I also know that things won’t always go my way, certainly not at the beginning of my journey when miscommunication and confusion abound.  I also know  how great it is to work hard and overcome those problems with the understanding that my knowledge of the language and cultures has increased by even the smallest inkling.

– Carissa