I wonder what I will be thinking when I look back on these posts a year from now.
If all goes well, I will be living in Xiaomen China at this time next year. Here are things I want to keep in mind:
1. The Chinese language scares you. Use it anyway. You're only limiting yourself if you don't.
2. Make Chinese friends. If you're not confident, pretend to be.
3. Don't find your identity with the American group. You're in China, so be in China. Don't make a little American world with the other foreign exchange students to help yourself feel more comfortable.
4. Take advantage of every opportunity. That's a no-brainer, but seriously, this is an experience of a lifetime! Don't waste it.
5. Don't compare. It's easy to be ethnocentric. Western culture is not better. It's just different. Love the different. It's not like America and it's not supposed to be!
6. Learn to laugh at yourself. You feel ignorant all the time. There is so much underlying culture you're completely oblivious to. You mess up your Chinese a lot. It's okay. It's not meant to be a stressful experience. If people laugh, learn to laugh with them. You're ability to adapt to a new culture is not what defines you!
7. Have fun and learn about everything possible!!