These 10 months have gone by so fast! I can’t believe that my year abroad is over!
Thinking back on it now, I know that I wasn’t able to do everything that I had initially planned, but I wouldn’t change my experience one bit. This past year was such a blast! I not only learned more about my host country, but also about myself as well. I have met so many people from all around the globe. I am just so happy that I was able to experience so much in such a small amount of time.
Just as I am finally getting used to the pace of life in Shanghai, I have to return back to Canada. There have been many sad goodbyes and it is hard to part ways with the the friends that I had just made.
If anyone is considering doing a year abroad (or even just one semester), my advice is to just go for it!
Traveling to different countries is a great way to explore a different culture, but actually living there gives you a totally different perspective. The amazing thing is, and chances are, the people you meet on your exchange have the same mindset as you! Sharing these life experiences with new friends makes it all the more worthwhile!
Shanghai has been a great host! Even with its super slow internet and oily foods, I really enjoyed my stay in the city. China has great transportation systems; I wish Canada had bullet trains! There is so much to do, so much to see and so much to eat. Although I am not a huge fan of Shanghai food, the thing about China is that with every new city you visit, there is a new cuisine for you to try.
Shanghai is also a very modern city. If you’re looking for a traditional Chinese atmosphere, Shanghai isn’t the place to go. But flights and train tickets are not very expensive if you’re travelling domestically. Planning a weekend getaway to Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou or even Beijing is no problem. If you’re into bars and clubs and fancy restaurants (as long as you’re willing to spend a little more cash), Shanghai is the perfect place to stay.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the option of spending most of my time in the convenience of such a modern city and choosing to visit smaller towns and villages, such as Zhangjiajie, during breaks. And there are a lot of breaks!
I’m going to miss being an exchange student, and all of the ups and downs that come along with it, but a part of me is also very glad to be going home. It was my first time being out of the country for this long and I really think I’m ready to end my year abroad. I know that I’m saying that I’m glad to be going home now, but I know that when I look back on this part of my life, I’ll miss it. This was definitely an unforgettable journey!
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