Lily Wilson

My experience studying abroad was such a profound experience that it is so difficult to put into words. The entire semester seemed to go by in a blur. Everyday I had classes that started at 8 a.m. and meetings with my tutor three times a week. I was placed into Chinese 5 and studied reading, listening, speaking, and comprehensive courses.

I was able to go on two different weekend trips. The first trip was to Nanjing in March. Since Nanjing is located in the South, the temperature was a lot warmer than it had been [in Beijing]. CIEE faculty brought everyone to very popular places. We went to many different temples and parks that were blooming with green plants. They brought everyone to eat at Nanjing-style restaurants and introduced everyone to the history of Nanjing. Our second trip was to Luoyang/Anyang. It was lovely there as well. We visited the Longmen grottoes--this is the place that really stuck out to me. There were buddhas and figures carved into the rock face that had such intricate detail that it is difficult to imagine someone spending their life carving it. The biggest attraction however, was a giant Buddha that was carved into the rock. It was surrounded by other figures and guards.

The people I met had such an impact on my life.  Meeting people from around the world really helped me understand cultural differences and how people connect. Sometimes, all it takes is one subject or interest in common that transforms into such meaningful relationships. I believe that since most of the people I met were studying abroad, so we were all in similar situations which helped everyone create such strong bonds. Everyone stuck together as if we were the only familiar things that reminded us of being independent but still having somewhere that we belong. My time abroad was phenomenal and I cannot wait until I go back to China to continue studying Chinese and meeting people from all over the world.