Shelby Anderton, Douglas College

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.

It was many months ago now that I was sitting in class, and one of my professors came to announce an opportunity for the Nursing students of Douglas College to go participate in a pilot field school experience in Shanghai, China, to experience firsthand the health care system there. Without a second thought I jumped at the opportunity what an adventure! My application was filled out, signed and submitted the following day. Since then, I have been preparing documents, booking flights, trains and hostels and packing in preparation.

I feel like the packing for a backpacking trip has been its own adventure entirely. Who knew that backpacks had to be sized, electrical plugs need adaptors, clothes should be stuffed into sacks to then be put into your backpack and, excuse me, but I need Imodium for what? In my preparation, a wise man told me “if it’s between bringing Imodium or your bible, take the Imodium and then work with what you know.”

So here we go, 46 days spent 5,600 miles from anything I've ever known, working in a health care system I know nothing about, traveling with stuffed sacks, special towels, Imodium and all. I have no doubt that this really will be the experience of a lifetime; after all, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. 

By: Shelby Anderton, Douglas College. Winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship.

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