Ellie Anderson, a freshman studying communication, woke up in China every day for four months.
Last fall Anderson decided to teach English in China with the International Language Program. There she was responsible for teaching a class of kids who did not speak her language.
“Being thrown into a new country was such a learning curve,“ Anderson said. “You have to accept you‘re not going to know what’s going on all the time. Things are going to go wrong and you just have to be chill with it. You have to embrace the crazy, and all the amazing at the same time.”
Anderson’s favorite place she visited was the small town, Yangshuo. “We rented mopeds and drove through these towering mountains. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We were also able to go white water rafting, play in mud caves, and watch the sun rise over the mountains from the river,” said Anderson.
During her four months, Anderson said one of the most incredible experiences her group had was camping on the Great Wall of China.
“There was something about the really hard hike and then getting to the top and seeing the great wall just spill out in front of you. It was like I was in a dream,” said Anderson
While traveling was a huge part of Anderson’s experience, most of her time was spent teaching at her school in Nanjing, China.
“It was hard teaching at first but once I got used to it, it was actually pretty easy,” Anderson said. “The kids really want to learn and be good. The thing that’s amazing about it is they will love you completely. They only know you for four months but you are one of their favorite people. They have such a capacity for love.”
Living in China allowed Anderson to be fully immersed in their culture and ways of life.
“The Chinese are very giving. Once they get used to you they will do anything for you,” said Anderson. “When I was leaving, each of my students brought me a gift to take home. That’s just how they are though.”
This was a life changing experience for Anderson. She recommends that everyone visit China.
“I think it’s good for everyone at some point to have some culture shock and to realize how privileged we are. Every country has their problems and things that make them amazing.”