“Coming to Beijing was one of the best things I ever did…”

Written by Bryn O’Hara, (College of the Holy Cross) Student Correspondent CET Beijing, Fall 2018

Dear Prospective Student,

DO IT! I’m telling you this because I am beyond thankful that I did…If there is any doubt in your mind around whether studying abroad in Beijing with CET is the right decision for you, I implore you to take this opportunity, take it for all it is worth, and never look back.

Flying to Beijing on my own and not knowing a single person was definitely out of my comfort zone, but studying abroad in China has been one of my long term goals since high school, so I decided to push myself through it.  What I have learned, among many things, in my time in Beijing is that getting outside of our comfort zones is actually when we thrive and learn the most.  I remember the morning of the flight, my stomach churning, when it really hit me that I was packing up my life for the next year to live all the way across the world, leaving behind my friends, family, boyfriend, classmates, traditions…

As soon as I got to Beijing, I could immediately see all the opportunities that lay ahead of me.  I chose to look at the difficulties in front of me as opportunities to learn, grow, and challenge myself.  Some of these challenges became the best parts of my life here that make me so happy and thankful to wake up every day.  Whether it was making new friends, discovering new foods to eat, or continuously improving my Chinese to the point where I can be comfortable in conversation, I embraced all of these aspects, and I was able to create home and create family in a foreign place.

Now with a only a week left with my CET Beijing classmates before they fly back to the States and I move on to my next coursework, I tear up at the thought of some of these people, who have become some of my closest friends, leaving.  While at the same time, I couldn’t imagine leaving China now because I feel I still have so much more to learn.  I have come to love living in Beijing, exploring something new every day, and I still feel as though there is so much more of just Beijing alone left for me to see.  I am beyond excited to be in Beijing for a couple more months before I move on to Shanghai and begin this learning process all over again.

I am writing this letter to you, whoever you are, because coming to Beijing was one of the best things I ever did, and I want you to have that experience too.  Living here, I have become family with some of the best people I know, I’ve had surreal moments that I didn’t even think were possible, I’ve eaten amazing food, and my Chinese has improved beyond measure.  If you come to Beijing, you will immediately see what is so special about this city; the way that both traditional culture and modern elements simultaneously exist so harmoniously here is mesmerizing, and I feel blessed to be in China at a time when I can watch this transition take place before my own eyes.

I would like to end this letter by telling you this: please come to Beijing – it will change your life.  Not only that, but come to Beijing and soak up every opportunity to improve your Chinese, meet incredible people, and learn about Beijing and Chinese culture.  Take things one day at a time.  Don’t be afraid to leave campus or get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.  Don’t ever stop learning!

再见,

Bryn

CET Beijing Intensive Fall ’18