The new school year is almost upon us! For SDSU Be International, that means it’s time to welcome a new group of study abroad bloggers. We’re delighted to introduce the Aztecs Abroad who will be sharing their international experiences this Fall semester!
When you study abroad, you need to make sure that you also make time to travel in your host country and, hopefully, the surrounding countries as well. Traveling is such a great way to educate yourself. You get to study the culture personally.
Before I arrived in Bangkok, I had a very clear idea of what my role here would be. I was going to be a student. I don’t mean to flaunt, but with a whole life of experience and a passion for learning, I think I’m pretty good at being a student. This confidence made me feel as though I had a leg up on the competition. It made me feel like taking the leap and spending six weeks in Thailand would be easy. I was both right and wrong.
As I continued with my studies and made new friends, I was presented with the idea to travel with my friend, Feli. Feli, short for a German name that means happiness, invited me to explore more of China with her. She asked me to come along to see Xi’an.
Nĭ hăo! Wŏ jiào, Nasreen! Hello! I am called, Nasreen! Learning the language Mandarin is incredible! I cannot believe I have never thought to learn it, let alone come explore the Chinese world. But here I am.
After the Chinese New Year, my cousin and I had planned to travel to Taiwan. It was so cool to know that traveling in Asia, while in Asia, is extremely cheap and is a must if you’re planning to stay for a long period of time. This was the first time I’ve traveled without older adults in a foreign place. At least by now I am a pro at packing.
It has always been traditional for me to be at home on New Year’s. This year, I was in two homes for two New Year’s. When I came to China, I did not know that the Lunar New Year was fast approaching (just letting you know beforehand, Chinese New Year started in early February, not January 1).
I started writing this on a United Airlines airplane, slowly realizing that I was heading to a new home with only five recognizable faces for the next six months. Things will be difficult – getting adjusted, learning the language, and figuring out Chinese culture. I did not know what to think, except to think about the faces of my loved ones back home. As I arrived in Shanghai, 14 hours later, I was immediately anxious to see China and my Chinese brothers and sisters.
In Thailand, the year is 2560. Although it technically is the same year here as anywhere else in the world, because Thais go by the Buddhist calendar, everyone refers to this year as 2560. The planners, calendars and online websites all declare boldly that it is now the year 2560. Odd? No. In every way this actually seems to make sense.