It’s already been a little over a month and I already feel like I am a local. Like expected, it was a huge culture shock. One of the hardest aspects of this has definitely been the language barrier. Sometimes I find myself stuck in situations where I can’t understand what the locals are saying, and they have no way to express themselves. But this is all part of the experience. Every time something like this happens it encourages me even more to keep learning the language.
Despite this, the experience has truly been amazing. In my time here, I have visited many of the big touristy attractions here in Shanghai and traveled to a few places in China. My weekend trips have included Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. Suzhou is a city known for its canals, bridges, and classical gardens. Some Chinese people even refer to it as the “Venice of the east.” In my time here I even went to a KTV (Karaoke). In my time at Wuxi, I stayed at the countryside and did a homestay at a traditional Chinese home. In here, I tried some of the local food and experienced what life was like for them. Nanjing, China’s old capital, was another great trip. Here, I learned more about Chinese culture by visiting places such as the Nanjing massacre memorial and the purple mountains. In Guangzhou, I visited a Chinese pharmaceutical company that focuses on herbal remedies. I even got to try some of them. Finally, one of my favorite places, Hong Kong. I learned about Hong Kong’s history, and I got to visit Lamma island, where I spent the day in the beach and ate some delicious seafood.
Visiting these cities has helped me understand and and appreciate China’s history, culture, and its people.