By: Lydia Williamson – Junior, Visual Arts and Journalism
There is a fear associated with studying abroad, and for good reason. It is not easy to hop on a plane and travel half way around the world (literally). No going back for at least four months. I’ll be the first to admit it is not an easy process: There is definitely an adjustment period when it comes to leaving the familiarity of America for an extended amount of time.
Many people ask “Why China?” and no specific answer pops into my head. Sometimes I tell people I like the adventure, other times I tell people I really enjoy the culture and other times I say that I like to travel. Even though all of these answers are true in a sense, I think my real answer would be “Why not?”
The beauty of traveling is discovering parts of yourself that you never knew existed. The best way, in my opinion, to do that is to step outside of your comfort bubble. Being uncomfortable is not always a bad thing; it can stimulate growth and help you understand what you are capable of.
I once heard a metaphor that the world is our home and that never leaving your country is like never leaving your bedroom. There is so much more than just Dayton, more than just Ohio, more than America. After the initial “jump,” fear associated with travel starts to lose its edge.
This is my second time studying abroad, both times in China. From someone who you might call an “experienced” traveler, I have learned that there is still so much to learn. Just this past weekend, our group travelled to Nanjing. I’d gone on a similar trip last year, and yet I was still able to find new things to see and grasp.
Now, I understand that China may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Although I would encourage the people who have decided that China is uninviting to reconsider. Maybe people find Canada or Brazil or France to be more desirable. I would encourage them to go for it. I have found much joy in meeting people in China, trying the food (yes, even the strange stuff), adopting the culture and viewing the traditional and modern Chinese sights.
The University of Dayton offers the option to study in China each year in the fall, spring and summer. The program is open to all students willing and open to expand their mind and hearts. The program offers more than just safely getting students to and from China. The program is the foundation for friendships, lessons and memories that will last a lifetime.
Photo by Lydia Williamson.