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.
If you had told me six months ago that I would travel through China I would not have believed you. I had never considered China as somewhere I would ever have the chance to visit and furthermore, I am in the middle of my Nursing Degree- there’s no way I could do a trip like that! Or so I thought, but participating in a study abroad experience through my school, Douglas College, provided an opportunity for me that I would have never dreamed possible. I would encourage every student to participate in a field school opportunity- here are 5 reasons why:
- Self- discovery
Being away from home, outside the context of my family and friends, forced me to rely on myself. I grew a new confidence in myself from the problem solving that comes with navigating your way through a foreign country that speaks a completely different language.
- It’s A Small World After All
Disneyland’s “It’s A Small World” ride really says it best - “Though the mountains divide, And the oceans are wide, It’s a small world after all. There’s so much that we share that it’s time were aware, It’s a small world after all”. I look at a map now and notice that just across the Pacific Ocean from my home in Vancouver, is China. What once seemed like an impossibly long and treacherous plane ride now feels familiar and my world seems just a little bit smaller and more interconnected.
- Group travel
I have always had dreams to travel and see any and all parts of the world that I have the opportunity to. However, I do admit, I have always been nervous to embark on an adventure directly into the unknown by myself. Traveling with an organized group was a really good way to introduce myself into a new culture that speaks a different language, uses different money and eats different food. It was so comforting knowing that there was eleven other students who felt just as out of place and clueless as I did and we had the opportunity to work together to figure it out.
One of my favorite experiences of being away was the complete culture shock- China is absolutely nothing like home. It was such an enriching experience to immerse myself into the culture of China by participating in the educational system and living local life- an experience that I feel would have been much different had I just been vacationing.
- There’s no place like home
Living over a month away from home has completely changed my perspective of being home. I have a new appreciation for where I come from and the familiarity and comfort of home. (Don’t get me wrong though- I am already dreaming of my next adventure.)
So there you have it- my top five reasons I think a field school experience is incredibly worth the investment of both time and money. So be brave and challenge yourself- I assure you you’ll probably eat something weird, learn a few new words in a new language, miss a few trains and get completely lost but ironically all the while- finding yourself.
By: Shelby Anderton, Douglas College. Winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship.