Arriving to China was very bittersweet. I was excited for my new journey, but I was not as prepared as I thought I was. It is a huge culture shock. Everything is absolutely different from what I’m used to and it just hit me that I was going to be away from home and away from my comfort zone for four months. I didn’t think homesickness could be so real. However the thought of what I was doing and how great of an opportunity this was kept coming back into my head and making me feel better. And of course, once you begin traveling around the city and making friends to take you around, you realize how big this world is and how fortunate you are to be exploring another country.
We visited very nice areas such as the Riverside, where there is a beautiful river surrounded by astonishing buildings and cute little restaurants. We also passed by JoyCity, a huge shopping mall filled with half Chinese stores and half American stores, as well as a section outside of it where there were a lot of buildings with the traditional Chinese structures. It was all absolutely beautiful.
As for the classes, it is very interesting because you get to know more about the Chinese hospitality industry alongside the American one. You find differences in the industries you would not imagine since you have it at home, so it should be similar everywhere else, right? Thanks to these classes I’m finding out this is not correct, and that, not only in China, but other places probably have different customs when it comes to hospitality.
Apart from the actual class material, I’m meeting new people who were raised very differently than how I was and I’m becoming more appreciative of what I have at home. This will all definitely come in handy when I finally have my career in hospitality because I will be able to cater to different people’s likings and not assume everyone finds comfort in the the same way Americans do.
Even though I’m still trying to adapt to this very different lifestyle, I’m very glad and fortunate to be here. I already know that by the end of this trip, I’ll be a stronger and more knowledgeable person, and I’ll be so grateful to have taken on this journey.