A Little About Me in a New Place

I am known to be a loud and very smiley extrovert who loves to always see the positive side of things and make the best out of life for others and myself. I am Mexican-Iranian-American in America, but here in China, I am American. But that does not mean I forget who I truly am and what my heritage is while I study in Shanghai, China.

I am extremely family oriented because of my heritage and background. Nuclear family includes your parents and your siblings. For me, the definition of nuclear family includes my parents, my sister and mis abuelos (my grandparents, in Spanish). They all have guided and taught me how to love and be selfless to others and myself. They have also pushed me and supported me to do great things. But, the one family member who has always pushed me to travel while I am young and tells me to continue to travel while I am old is my mom.

I am lucky to say that my mom is one of my best friends. You can already imagine my smile turning upside down when I had to leave her, my family and my supportive boyfriend. The hardest part guaranteed for me, when I was leaving to study abroad, was that last hug. It is like you have Velcro on. You stay stuck onto them, your hugs are so tight and so strong, but you have no strength to remove yourself from them. Once you start separating from them, all you want to do is keep going back to them until you realize that you have a flight in a few hours and have to get going.

To this day, and as I am writing this to you, I cry. Yes, you may think that crying for this long may seem exaggerated or too emotional, but crying because I miss them has taught me so much. I realized that this is not only an experience to learn the culture of China, to study abroad, and to meet amazing people from all around the world, but a reflection and an awakening to how blessed I am to having this life, this opportunity, and a family.

This is such an awakening to the idea that life is filled with blessings and opportunities that you never thought you could have. You just need to make the effort to open your horizons and realize you have the capabilities to realize how amazing you truly can be, even if it is in a new place. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to study abroad because you not only become aware of the world around you, you become aware of who you are.

I hope I can continue awakening, learning about myself and my new family and culture for the time being. In the coming months, I will be writing to you about my point of view and feelings towards my experience in China and hope you can have an interest in study abroad yourself.

On the side note, I would like to thank everyone who has been supporting my decision in studying abroad. I would also like to give thanks to my godparents and their family for letting me be a part of their world and home here in Shanghai, China. I love you very much and am so thankful for having you in my life. You are all such a blessing to me.

Nasreen Nabizadeh is a public health junior. She is studying abroad this spring at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.

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