By: Sean Paul Veltmeyer, Langara College, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.
So my study abroad trip to China is over! When I boarded my flight leaving Vancouver back in May, it felt like such a long period of time stretched out before me. By the time the last week rolled around, the days just flipped past. And finally, all I had left to do was say my tearful goodbyes and hop on my 10-hour flight home to Vancouver! I don’t know about you, but this is my least favourite part of any trip. On the way there, you’re filled with excitement and anticipation, and you spend the flight daydreaming and reading about your destination.
After 51 days through 2 different countries, 6 beautiful cities across 2 different time zones by trains, planes, automobiles and boats- it is true to say; there’s no place like home. It feels like everything at home is exactly how I left it- except for me. To say that my time in Asia was “life changing” is an understatement but I suppose that phrase will have to do.
I can honestly say that I have started and stopped writing this post a few times already. The magnitude and variety of new things I experience each day is sometimes overwhelming. How can I write just a brief post about a sliver of this adventure when I want to go on and on?
I chose to write about the top 3 things I am fascinated about in China so far.
Food (of course!)
I still can't believe it, but here I am - China. Today officially marks one month that I've been away from home participating in a field school opportunity offered through my nursing program and traveling around China. To put into words what this time has been so far is seeming to be an impossible task. It's been a month of time change, language barriers and culture shock. A month of new smells, new food and new people.
In less than 1 week I will be in China! On May 16th I will land in Shanghai with my group from Langara College in Vancouver, BC. I almost can’t wait! I realized that one of the things I am most excited about in China is food! I decided to seek out and try one special dish in each area that we will visit.
Shanghai & “Stinky Tofu”
Helen Keller said, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. Her words express a longing in my heart for adventure- to experience new places and culture, climb new summits and meet new people. Today however, as I sit here thinking about my impending departure this coming Friday to embark on the biggest adventure of my life, I feel as though I am grasping at the strings of that longing as something to hold on to, and frantically trying to stop shaking in my boots.
Adjusting to life in China has been a constant learning experience, like the ebb and flow of the tide, at times the waves of struggle can be endless. I have found that to successfully integrate and succeed here I have had to change the ways that I relax and enjoy myself in this new environment. I grew up on the water in British Columbia and have a deep love of nature, hiking, and exposing myself to the outdoors. This was how I found serenity and peace in my active life. Some of my biggest struggles in China were due to my inability to find this same peace that I could cultivate at home whi
As a citizen of your own country, immigration procedures are something that you rarely have to think about; they exist for those who decide to come to your country, not those who already live in it. Studying abroad changes that assumption and introduces you to a completely foreign bureaucracy that you are often left to navigate alone. My arrival in China a month ago has certainly been a myriad of different challenges and new experiences but all have revolved around my quest to attain a residence permit.