Goodbye China, Hello Russia
Post by Victoria Squire (’15) and Dylan Coan (’15)
To say that China has exceeded all expectations is an understatement. To try to sum it up would be impossible, it’s something one has to experience. China is everything you ever expected and nothing you ever expected at the same time. We visited five cities during our stay in China; each city was unique, each experience was surreal, each speaker was enlightening, and each meal was better than the last. It’s amazing to think that we experienced so much in just three weeks; we were so blessed to be guests in such an extraordinary country.
In our final Encounters class in China we discussed our favorite memories, our biggest challenges, and how the trip has changed each of us so far. One memory that we all agreed effected as a group was our adventure on the Great Wall of China and then the 3:30 am sunrise hike the next morning. What was even more profound was that it was our second and third day of China, which no BRIC group has ever done before. The fact that this took place so early in our group development really allowed us to create strong bonds which have affected our group dynamic immensely and will continue to shape our group experiences throughout the trip. As phenomenal as China was, the culture shock had many of us reeling. In addition to this, the language barrier was a major hurdle most of us struggled with. However, it gave many of us the opportunity to grow and the ability to be comfortable with uncertainty. Overall, China has fostered a new sense of identity in each of us and we are all one step closer to becoming international citizens.
We are amazed at how far the group has come since first meeting at orientation. The decision to spend our last night in China as a group speaks volumes about the character of the group and strength of the bond that we share. We spent this night reminiscing about our time in China through slideshows, videos, and superlative awards; all of which was prompted by the groups desire to share such a night. As we said goodbye to China, we also parted with our new found mentor and confidant Professor Mulcahy.
Looking forward, Russia presents us with a completely new playground which will surely continue to push us further outside of our comfort zone. So far, Russia has been different than China in almost every possible way. We are so excited to continue this amazing journey and cannot wait to see the treasures that Russia has in store for us.