45 days and not counting

In forty five days, I will arrive home and have a home-cooked meal, sleep in my own bed, wake up to minimal pollution but I guarantee you – I’m still going to want to be back in 上海.

I’ve been here for 八十天. Every single one of those days has been completely different. Every single one of those days I’ve been out of my comfort zone. And I’ve really never loved anything more than my eighty days here.

So here are 45 things I’ve learned from studying abroad in China (I think it’s about time I share this with you):

  1. It’s really not that hard to make friends. Sure, it may take some time to open up, but it’s very much worth it.
  2. I’ve never been prouder to be a quarter Chinese.
  3. I never thought I’d actually get sick of dumplings and noodles.
  4. No, really. Some days all I want is a cheese toastie and that’s okay too.
  5. When eating gets really hard, stick to instant oatmeal. It’s kind of not really satisfying.
  6. No one understands me when I say “heaps”. They also don’t understand the word “icy pole”. Or “car park”.
  7. You will manipulate someone into only ever saying ‘lift’. Or the other way around (I now say “elevator”).
  8. People are generally pretty helpful when it comes to learning a language (i.e. every native (or even non-native) Chinese speaker who has ever helped me with my 中文 translations).
  9. There will be a time when you have to try some really weird food. Like every time I freaked out and picked something random on the menu (hi Chinese meat pie thing!)
  10. Especially in China, you will get random people taking photos of you. Own it.
  11. Take advantage of other national holidays – usually they involve food or costumes.
  12. Australia is really far. From everything. So I’m attempting to use my time abroad to travel – everywhere and anywhere.
  13. The struggle to understand every accent is real. I’m getting there.
  14. Roommates are not always easy, but it’s nice to know there’s someone there when you’re locked out.
  15. I will do know people on every continent and in almost every country.
  16. It’s really okay if you don’t get 100% on every exam – I’ve learned to appreciate that I really have it all, and getting a B is not the end of the world.
  17. You’ll to splurge on that one imported item. Like peanut butter. Or hot chocolate. Or Starbucks chocolate muffins.
  18. Just because the drinking age is 18, does not mean you have to go out. Buuuut Shanghai is pretty fun.
  19. The most interesting experiences happen on public transport. Not necessarily the best, but the most interesting.
  20. You will have a collection of over 400 photos, because well you will want to take pictures of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING (as you can tell if you have ever seen my Facebook album).
  21. 中文 is the most 苦 of any of the 语’s.
  22. Everywhere in China is really far away. It’ll take me a few years before I travel it all.
  23. I never, ever, want to leave Asia.
  24. Seriously, you wouldn’t want to either.
  25. There are always going to be people who you don’t get along with – but it’s fine because I guarantee that some people just don’t like you either.
  26. No matter what continent you go to, there’s always going to be stupid people.
  27. Going to university in my hometown baffles me now.
  28. Taxi drivers are the funniest people I’ve ever met.
  29. All nighters are the worst idea. Just go to sleep.
  30. Dogs in China are the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
  31. So are the cats.
  32. You are never really going to know where your street food meat comes from. That’s okay too.
  33. China is either super cheap or really expensive. No in between.
  34. The China Cash Complex is a real phenomenon.
  35. If you’re not surrounded by your accent, you’ll miss your home country’s accent. Like the Australian accent. It’s always refreshing to hear something that’s vaguely close to it (hi England and New Zealand!)
  36. You’re going to encounter somebody that has exactly the same taste in music as you.
  37. And there’ll be one person who understands your childhood TV show references.
  38. 8:15 am classes are the devil.
  39. People really are baffled by Australia.
  40. No one has ever heard of a tim tam and think we really do eat kangaroo on a daily basis.
  41. You will miss that one item of clothing at home that you thought you would not need.
  42. Netflix is practically my saviour.
  43. Google Translate is my second saviour.
  44. Home delivery is a dangerous hobby.
  45. No experience will ever beat your time spent abroad.

Bella 冯茵


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