By Daniel Socha
Suddenly, we open our eyes and lift our heads from where they rested on half-asleep arms. Here we are, eight or so hours into the extraordinarily long flight to Chengdu, China. This is when I imagine it will really sink in. Racing thoughts spinning around in circles: What will Chengdu be like? What relationships will we form there? What will be most life-shaking about this experience? Is the spicy food truly as spicy as people say? And, how in the world can a plane stay in the air for thirteen and a half hours?!
All these questions will certainly go unanswered until we find ourselves back on another flight bound for home… or possibly not even until weeks or months after our return. As students, we have the opportunity to expand ourselves beyond the traditional confines of university education. I am excited to explore, build relationships and learn from professors at Sichuan University. I believe that beyond the pandas, spicy food and beautiful architecture, the most profound learning will come from the relationships we develop with students and professors in Chengdu. Furthermore, as a group of study abroad students from Kent State, I believe that our shared experiences will have a tremendous impact on the way that we learn and grow. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the adventure that lies ahead!