Andre Harness Jr.
COB Study Abroad Program China
Life is an adventure that you have to live, stop thinking about it and live it. I know what you are thinking, China? How much fun could one have in China? Isn’t it a communist country? Don’t they hate Americans? I think I’ll pass; Europe would be a better time. Let’s start with killing that stereotype. The Chinese have an amazing culture and have been more open and inviting to us then one could ever have dreamed. We have been, simply put, celebrities. China rolled out the red carpet and accepted us with open arms and in turn all seventeen of us dropped our guard from day one and dove into the culture headfirst. We have had to learn to eat with chopsticks which at first was a challenge, but one that we all concurred and honestly now it’s harder for us to eat with a fork. But what about the language barrier? Dr. Chen supplied us with a tour guide named, Cindy. Who has been an angel. honestly, she has made our China experience priceless. Anytime that we have wanted to catch a cab anywhere day or night she has made it happen and made sure that we were being safe every step of the way. Anytime that we have been out and needed to order food or if we are at the market buying things she has been there as our communication crutch; Cindy has simply been amazing. But I don’t know anybody going with me? Being thrown into a foreign country has bonded us like you could never imagine. We are from all over the country and all walks of life and we have all come together to be a family. We dropped our guards, we’ve had disagreements, we’ve loved hard, and in return we’ve formed friendships that will last a lifetime. We will always have China.
China has been, well words can’t even explain. We have been blessed to have Dr. Chen with us who is from China. He and his staff put together the most amazing life changing experience that one could ever dream of. Home is over 15,000 miles away and he has made it feel like we never left. The hotels that we have stayed in have felt like palaces and every step of the way he has gone above and beyond to make sure that every student has not just felt comfortable but welcomed. Being homesick has been out of the question. He has not just made us try new foods but he has taken us on once in life time company visits. We have had the opportunity to go to Lenovo and be the first student group to get to tour their testing facilities and their corporate campus. In addition we got to visit companies that helped us understand exactly how the Chinese live. Everything from how much it cost to live in China to how much it cost to start and operate a company. The relationships that we were able to form with Vice Presidents and owners of companies will go along way as we enter the work world and was a priceless experience that we will forever be grateful for.
We have also been fortunate to have Dr. Grubb’s youthful flavor added to our trip. He has been like a father to us, always there when things haven’t gone smoothly. Everything has its ups and downs and although we have been up for over 95% of the trip; when things have dipped south he was there to smooth them out, lend a Band-Aid, a hug, and a timely joke to keep us focused on the amazing experience that was in front of us. To say that we have been blessed doesn’t do our situation justice. ECU supplying us with both Dr. Chen and Dr. Chang was the perfect pairing and one can only be thankful that they took the time away from there families to take us on this adventure across the world. If you were thinking about studying abroad hopefully this helps you decide to go. It is truly a life changing experience.
Live your adventure.