My name is Sasha John, and I am an international transfer student at FIU from the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I am a firm believer in the quote, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood” -Helen Keller. After all, if you think about it, experiences are the best gifts we can ever give ourselves; For it is through experiences that we learn, grow, network, gain wisdom, and equip ourselves for the future.
This year, I have focused a lot on-physical and mental growth. In fact, my decision to participate in this study abroad was linked to my yearning for personal development. This program for me is going to be more than just an opportunity to travel, it’s all part of my personal journey.
Surprisingly, I am not nervous about going to China. I feel very relaxed and ready for what’s ahead. The challenge is now, how do I prepare to maintain this state of fearlessness and peace throughout the semester.
The first thing I did was I tried to immerse myself with the culture although I wasn’t actually in China. By this, I mean looking at videos about Tianjin, researching the lifestyle, and also, changing some of my habits that I knew I’d have to stop once I get there. For example, before, I would never drink room temperature beverages, however, knowing that in China they hardly ever use ice, I decided to start practicing this by drinking warm water/juice for a month before departure so that when I get there I would already be accustomed.
I also tried to lighten up my diet by eating more fruits and choosing healthier options to sort of detoxify my body after I had eaten so much junk during the vacation.
Along with this, I started taking my vitamins, drinking teas, and getting in a lot of natural products as I know in China they eat relatively healthy.
In addition to preparing myself physically, I started doing guided meditation every morning as this is something I plan to continue doing in China. I found a 10-minute video on YouTube from Headspace which is perfect for students as we are always on the go! This has helped me to have a great start on a day, and I know it will definitely help me to cope with my emotions in China.
Reading is something that I started doing as well. I bought a book titled “What did I learn today” by Akosua Edwards. This book encouraged me to do personal journals and ask myself that very question daily, what is one thing that I’ve learned today? So…
One thing that I learned today is that reflection is good for the mind. Journaling is even better, and no matter what strategies or methods you may have, one of the most important keys to both physical and mental health abroad is by actually making it a PRIORITY.
With that said, I am excited for this journey and I hope that you are as well!