Get Away to Find Your Way
I never thought in all my years that one trip abroad would be a major turning point in my life. Prior to entering college, my parents gave me the option to either work for the U.S. Postal Service or go to college. Essentially, they were telling me college was my only option. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life in terms of a career. My parents even chose my major because the job field was lucrative. My perspective changed when I went abroad to Shanghai, China.
Shanghai was a dream (only I was awake). From the subway chasing, trying of exotic food, to the meeting people of all different nationalities, there was never a dull moment. Being able to study intensive Chinese with other students from different parts of the U.S was both amazing and hilarious. The most memorable time in Shanghai would have to be singing karaoke and eating hot-pot on the fourth of July.
During my time away from home, some unfortunate family tragedies happened, but I refused to let it create a bad experience for me. My friends and teachers were very understanding and very helpful to make the rest of my trip unforgettable. Additionally, Yan our CEA director had taken us on tours of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Wuzhen, as well as provide students with cultural activities that were fun and very informative, including a foot massage.
The last days of my study abroad adventure, I went to The Bund almost every night with friends just to mingle with locals and look at the lit skyline with friends. This gave me time to reflect on my journey and come to realize I was meant to be here and I was meant to feel this way: happy.
The following May, I graduated college and was accepted into graduate school to pursue a M.A. in International Studies. I was also able to intern with CEA as an Alumni Ambassador. I am able to continue to tell my story of soul searching and encourage students to go abroad and experience their own adventure. Of course, my family were a bit concerned with my academic change, but they are slowly warming up to the idea that I am doing something that motivates me. Thanks CEA!
Nakia E. is a CEA Alumni. She studied abroad in Shanghai in the Summer of 2016 and is currently a graduate student at Texas State University