Written by Jamie Wong, (Student Correspondent) Brandeis University
CET Shanghai, Summer 2015
Let me tell you.
When you first enter a study abroad program, some kind of advisor will tell you about how there are ups and downs. Highs and lows, goods and bads. What isn’t explained in detail is how terrifying it can be to be in a completely new country and environment not knowing how to explore with confidence. For some, they can dive right in without any hesitations and embark on instant adventures.
For others, that isn’t so easy.
I was one of the nervous ones in the latter group. Everything was new and a complete shock; I knew how to take a taxi but I was vibrating with anxiety whenever I attempted to take one. The subway became a thing of fearful anticipation and the school gate suddenly became the edge of my new world, the marker between the unknown and the familiar.
But you were familiar. You, with your fluency and know how, assured safety and security outside of our small shared dorm room. You brought me places, showed me around, assisted me in times of need, pushed me when I stopped still.
It’s hard to explain the deep appreciation I have for you and what you’ve done without a dictionary on hand. But without you, I would have never adjusted this well; Shanghai no longer scares me the way it used to. Now I can step out and go anywhere. Now I’m adventurous. Now I explore.
But not without you.