China. It is the world’s final frontier, the business world that is. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, increasing at a pace that only the ultra competitive chinese could possibly keep up with. After three years of studying the language, a $4500 college travel grant, and landing an internship with a product design consulting firm, I am only a week and a half away from blazing my own trail on the final frontier.
Frequently asked questions regarding my travel:
Am I going on an internship program? No.
Is that smart given that I have never traveled overseas alone? potentially.
Do I know anyone there? A few of my dad’s friends who agreed to be emergency contacts.
Where are you going to live? In an apartment I found on a database similar to craigslist.
My answers are enough to make any parent worry, and my sanity to be the butt of jokes among my group of friends. But I do have a few things going for me:
An incredible summer internship. The firm is called China Bridge International, it is a small but mighty innovation and design strategy firm that redesigns and remarkets foreign products to fit a chinese demographic.
An apartment. It took approximately an entire semester sorting through webpages upon webpages just to find a single bedroom in shanghai in my price range. It wasn’t easy, and I can’t really give future student travelers much advice but to start looking early on real estate/classified/ expat webpages and cross your fingers that there is something out there.
flexibility. There are going to be some things in China I just don’t understand. I am going hit culture road blocks, have more than one awkward miscommunication, get lost on the metro, get lost on the sidewalk, have general confusion over my exact location, and probably take more than one fall given my balance and china’s sidewalk congestion. But all of these future mishaps will shape what is sure to be a great summer adventure, as long as I can maintain a level head and a sense of humor.
And last but not least Elle Gurskis. It did not take much to convince this language aficionado with an international curiosity to come to Shanghai later in the summer to take chinese classes and share the adventure together.
That is it for now. I will be spending the next week and a half getting travel immunizations (yuck), packing, and mentally preparing for China and my summer abroad.