Connor Donovan, a student from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, spent his spring semester studying abroad in Chengdu, China. Most study abroad students find themselves reflecting on their time spent abroad once they return. Connor’s reflection is definitely worth a read!
There and Back Again: A Dragon’s Tale
你好，我的朋友! = Nǐ hǎo, wǒ de péngyǒu! = Hello, my friends!
Here it is, the final blog, the period at the end of a thrilling sentence. I find it fitting that I am writing this in the exact same manner that I wrote to you the first time: lying on my parent’s couch in Frisco, Texas, chatting with my dad about the material for the blog, the meaning of life, and whatever happens to be on television. This time, however, things are slightly different. Four months ago I wrote as I was anxiously awaiting the start of the journey that would take me over unfamiliar waters into personally uncharted lands. This time I write from a reflective state, having tested the waters and mapped out the new and wonderful lands.
While I am happy to be home amongst my family and old friends, I also look forward to the day that I return to China, that far off place which holds some of the most delicious foods, the most enchanting sites, and the most charming people that I ever had the privilege of experiencing.
We all have so much going on in our daily lives that I believe we sometimes forget that there is a larger world outside of our country, our state, or even our school or neighborhood. Of course, we are aware of the rest of the world’s existence, but it does not seem as believable because we have not seen it, we have not smelled it, we have not experienced it. Studying abroad gave me this much-needed wake-up call – it opened my mind to so many new ideas and ways of thinking, it put my daily obstacles and trials into perspective, it woke me up. I now visualize an entirely new Earth, an Earth cohabited by plants, animals, people who all may have their own niche in the ecosystem, who all may have their own reasoning and process for accomplishing a certain task, but who all share the same Sun, the same source of energy that keeps the Earth alive and spinning. We are all in this together, so the sooner we learn to understand and accept each other, the sooner we can effectively collaborate and make the world a better place to live. Do you want to make a positive change in the world? Yes? Then open your mind to the rest of the world…study abroad.
In short, what would I say to someone interested in studying abroad? I would say listen to Nike and “Just do it”!
火龙 Connor “Huǒ Lóng” Donovan
*You also find this post on the University of Arkansas, Little Rock study abroad website.
And we say listen to Connor! Studying abroad can do so much for you academically, culturally and mentally. Check out our website and see what part of the world you can open your mind up to.