Congratulations! If you are reading through all these previous student experiences, it must mean you are interested in studying abroad in China! Without a doubt, you are well on your way of possibly making the best decision of your life. China holds so many incredible opportunities, breathtaking scenery and a way of life that will leave a lasting impression on you forever. My name is Tyler Foote, and I am currently studying Agricultural Education at River Falls. If you're anything like me, traveling around Europe was (or maybe still is) the ideal study abroad program to participate in during college. While backpacking across Europe is still a dream of mine, I jumped at the chance to study in a country where so few students have gone before.
By participating in the Experience China Program in the spring of 2014, I traveled over 15,000 miles within mainland China and visited cities twice the size of any American city, climbed mountains and ancient rice terraces, boated down world famous rivers and experienced more than I can write in words. If you're ready for a cultural change, in need for personal growth or taking a leap of faith, China is the best place to do so. China became my second home, and I cannot wait to return.
One Thing I learned While Abroad: China is a very interesting, tough but manageable country to travel through. I learned that no matter the situation, live in the present and take in whatever the experience is trying to teach you. For this, be in Asia, Europe or anywhere in the world – learning from your experiences will teach you more than any lecture in school. Whether you are lost, using hand gestures to communicate with a taxi driver or trying to order lunch at a street food stand, you will be forced to use strengths you never imagined you had. I found it best to just go with the flow and know that whatever happens - happens! The times you get lost or order a completely awful dish at a restaurant will be the memories that will last a lifetime. Be prepared for the unknown and experience everything you possibly can!
One Piece of Advice I Would Offer: Whatever you do, do not believe any of the negative connotations associated with China that your family, friends or the news are saying. In a country totally different than ours, it is easy to unknowingly make very wrong assumptions based on the culture. When you arrive in China, make sure to keep your heart, soul and eyes open to everything. Experience every mode of transportation, eat (or just try) every dish brought to you at the dinner table and spend as much time with your host buddies and families as possible. As long as you're ready for anything and keep an open mind towards this amazing culture, you will come back to America a changed person.