I was able to escape the typhoon in Shanghai but the furious intensity of the Artic winds that blew through the Summer Palace was another story. I visited Beijing during the coldest winter day and the wind literally cut through me like butter. Climbing The Great Wall proved to be a challenge too. The higher I climbed, the stronger the winds blew. It stunted my progress and blew the air right out of my lungs.
I went to college in New York City so I commuted to and from school. Studying abroad in Shanghai was the first and only time I lived away from my parents. I didn’t get to ease into living on my own. I was flown half way across the world and dropped there. Splat!
There was language barrier since I knew minimal Mandarin, which left me awfully lonely and terribly confused. I applied to the Chinese Language Program at Fudan University through SUNY Albany. Both schools did a poor job of communicating and advising me while I was abroad. Both schools also chose to blame me for not being responsible enough to figure out the appropriate documents that were required.
Now, I totally understand and can completely accept responsibility for my actions if I was the only one having this issue. But when all of the students I know who are in this program are having the same exact problem, then it’s not me. It’s the universities. Needless to say, it made the beginning of my study abroad experience hell.
Homesick hit quick but it was cured by my wanderlust.
Intellectually: No where
I’ve never gone to a place that was intellectually challenging. They’ve always been intellectually stimulating.