Introduction coming from QINGDAO, China:
Whether you decide to follow me to China, or another country, I encourage you to take the risk of traveling to a place that is new and foreign to you. One of my new friends here in China told me last night, “As long as the direction is right, you should not be afraid of how long the way is.” It has greatly encouraged me and I want to use it to encourage you. Spend time studying things not in your major. I know of no other way to experience life more fully than to be thrown into a new situation where you have to struggle with the basics of everyday life. You take almost nothing for granted and are able to identify the things that are important to you and reestablish what you spend time on. The amount and different types of people you get to meet and hang out with are so exciting and memorable.
I believe each person you meet and interact with helps to shape who we are and how we make decisions. When you travel, the different types of people you can have conversations with vary much more than if you spend all four years at the same university in the states. This is why I love to learn languages and travel. Coming to China, I was nervous for the culture; I knew little to nothing about what to expect. People had told me that they were incredibly nice and very hospitable, but I had my doubts. However, I have only been in Qingdao for 10 days, and I can tell you that you cannot over-exaggerate the friendliness, hospitality, and joy that the people in China have for their lives and for helping you as a stranger in their country.
As you read, I hope to give you a glimpse of what it is to travel in China and interact with this ancient and enduring culture. I include my thoughts, feelings, and reactions to things that have happened. If you have questions further, or would like to be put on the list to receive emails, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.