By Brooke Mullins
When I think back to the short yet sweet time I spent in Chengdu, China, this summer, I realize now that two weeks is simply not enough time to spend immersing yourself into a new culture. By the time you are boarding the plane to leave, you have overcome the fear of a different culture and language and begin to enjoy the experience of a new country.
However, those two weeks of chaos and confusion were definitely gold mines of life transforming opportunities, and I took as many of them as I could.
For me, the most the most transformative experience was navigating China alone without the help of some Chinese friends. I remember there was a day I somehow ended up being in charge of leading a group of fellow Kent students to Chunxi Road by myself. This meant somehow communicating with cab drivers and remembering a foreign city’s layout without the help of anyone. At first, I was stressed and wondering how I got put in charge of this short little excursion and honestly began to want to go back to the hotel. However, without using any real verbal communication, I was able to get two cabs of people to Chunxi Road. After we made it there, I was somehow able to piece together the shopping area’s layout in my mind and kept us from even doubting where we were, let alone getting lost. By the end of the day, I felt like if I, an English speaking countryside farm girl, could get myself and others around in a Chinese speaking city, I could do nearly anything. That evening, I decided I was going to stay in school until I had my Ph.D.