As I sit here and try to reflect on my 15 weeks spent in Shanghai with CIEE, the strongest phrase that comes to mind is too fast. I've studied abroad before, but I forgot how life-changing it can be. I was walking slowly through the neighborhood today, and I realized how much I'm going to miss this crazy city. CIEE has a solid program here, and I look forward to sharing it with future students from St. Lawrence that decide to take the leap to China.
Studying in Shanghai has brought new life to my desire to learn Chinese, in between an insanely generous host family, enthusiastic 老师们, friends at East China Normal (Chinese and foreign alike), and the confidence I have gained in navigating life in China. No doubt, it's tiring at times; I'm not used to cities (let alone the largest in the world), there are cultural quirks I will perhaps never be used to, and I am constantly reminded about the power of language.
Although my experience in Shanghai is coming to a close, my adventure in China is not even close to being over; I'm taking the bullet train north tomorrow to Beijing! I've acquired an internship at The China Foundation Center and will be living there for the summer, probably until the last week of August. I'm thrilled to have another perspective of Chinese culture, continue practicing my language skills, gain professional experience, and dig into a new city. As much as I miss home, I wouldn't stay here if I didn't like it!
Thursday night my Chinese class invited our teachers out to Mexican food! Granted, we've all had better, but I thoroughly enjoyed the endless chips and salsa with my sizzling vegetable fajita. The idea was inspired by my one teacher who didn't know what tacos were-- something as being a North American, I totally take for granted! I've had such a good experience learning with them and it motivated me to study harder and speak more. They also said that we have also helped them learn about Chinese culture. I'm really going to miss this class!
Yesterday was an afternoon full of CIEE photo-taking, the graduation ceremony (in which I was a M.C.), then a ritzy dinner on the 26th floor of the Renaissance Hotel at the Cloud 9 shopping mall. The high-end buffet was such a treat, and I definitely should have eaten that much! This is a photo of us 10 students from St. Lawrence University that studied in Shanghai this semester.
I appreciate you readers for visiting my posts, sporadic as they have been. I guess my job with CIEE is done, although if you're interested in continuing to read my writings, I have a personal blog as well: http://loquaciousnicole.blogspot.com
And with that, I bid you 祝好，再见！
艾瑞尼可 Nicole L. Eigbrett