Back from Hong Kong, Feeling Like a Changed Person

It’s been a week since I’ve returned and wow are things different.

In these few lines of my last blog post, I would like to talk about how study abroad affected me as well as tell you a little more about Hong Kong. If you are thinking about studying abroad in Hong Kong or would just like to learn a lot more about it, I’d also want this to be your best resource.

First, here’s Hong Kong through my eyes.

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Practicing My Faith While Abroad

Today I rejoice in the first homily in Mexico that I could actually understand — it was about love being more important than power — and the first two Bible readings I was able to recognize during Mass. It was a neat outdoor church with a roof — una iglesia abierta, I was told — and we attributed the clarity of the priest’s voice to the absence of walls. It was a nice change from the other churches, whose roaring fans and echoes from the microphone were a recipe for frustration and not registering anything the priests or speakers had to say.

Before my trip, I had in my mind a specific pattern of practicing my religion while in Mexico. I would attend a Catholic university, so I would go to Mass everyday before class and I would check the Adoration and Confession schedules to try to make it to each at least once. Since Mexican towns have churches like a centipede has legs, I would have no problem finding Mass on Sunday, and my host family would take me.

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Some Reflections After Two Months in Madagascar

In less than two weeks, I’ll board a plane, spend a lot of hours in the air and arrive home in California. It’s strange to think about returning to the U.S. It’s my home country, yet it’s such a different world from here.

I believe that once you have an experience where you learn and grow and stretch yourself, you can never go back to being exactly the person you were before.

Continue reading “Some Reflections After Two Months in Madagascar”

Of Bad Days and Unexpected Culture Shocks

“Positivity all the time is kind of unrealistic,” said my friend while we were chatting about my experiences here in Mexico. I wholeheartedly agree. We are constantly told to maintain a positive attitude and be optimistic and that we will have a blast on study abroad. But we should remember that we are also human beings who have real emotions that should be addressed.

If I were to provide a bit of advice about study abroad, I would say to be honest with yourself. You are the most knowledgeable person about your own emotional state and needs. If you are having a bad day, acknowledge it. You don’t have to break down and cry if you don’t want to, but it’s not the end of the world if you do.

The truth is that bad days do happen — even in other countries.

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Ding Ding Smile — Welcome to Hong Kong!

“Ding ding” is what the buses are called here; one of the many names Hong Kongers use where sounds are incorporated into the naming. Aside from the names, there were many other things that shocked me upon arriving and for the last three weeks that I’ve been here.

But before I dive in, let me backtrack a little so you have a better idea of who I am. My name is Sarah and I’m a fourth-year biology major and psychology minor. If you’re a biology major, you know how hard it is to study abroad due to our course requirements and schedule — but I made it!

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The Discovery of Meaningful Living through Cena, Antoni Gaudí

I had a melting pot of emotions before going international — this was my first time going abroad and “flying solo” (literally). I had no idea what to expect. All I had brought with me was a suitcase of comforts to remind me of home and the adequate ability to speak Spanish.

I was a bit uneasy and anxious at the thought of beginning this journey alone. However, as I touched down in BCN, all that fear had vanished.

I’ve been living in Barcelona for about a week and already I’ve been humbled by the culture that embraces me with hospitality, kindness and simplicity. If I’m keeping count of the number of touristic activities that served to educate me on the beautiful, unique qualities of Spanish culture, it is of considerable worth. Yet, as I truly reflect on processing the value hidden behind these excursions and my personal interactions with the natives of Barcelona, it carries even more significance.

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