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Asia

April in China
This month I didn’t really go anywhere other than trying out all kinds of food. The food here are so good and cheap!  I’m really going to miss it when I leave.  For Easter holiday, we did a potluck, where everyone brings in and make their own meal. Me and Christina decided to make this Thai dish called Kao Pia. It was a lot of fun. Me and Christina were  the last one to finish cooking our meal. It took a while because we have to roll and cut our noodle before we could boil it. I was surprised at how  everyone loves our meal. I thought many of them couldn’t eat spicy, but turns out they love our spicy sauce. Many of them keep coming back for second and third. There wasn’t a lot, but was enough for everyone. On our Easter break it was raining, so I decided to stay on campus instead of going out. Couple of students actually went back home for the holiday. This month me along with the other exchange  students attended the high table. It was great to see how nice everyone look and the event was great. The speech given by our guest speaker was great. I thought it was really inspirational  about his experience on pursuing  a higher education and also going out of country to study. Me and Christina also met with two other students who  came to study at Concordia before. We met a little late, but we finally came together.      

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Hey CSP Fam!
I’m two months late but imagine this the middle of March. I am sorry. I took my first two tests here about a week ago (a month ago). I believe I did the worst in my Chinese Elementary Class because it’s hard learnng a new language. Especially if it’s in a whole different character. But we are learning the pinyin form, which is much easier. My friends told me that they usually learn the pinyin form first then they go onto the characters, which I most likely will not be able to learn. HOWEVER, the psychology test that I took was OVERWHELMING. I honestly did not know what I was getting myself into. I was expecting it to be a multiple choice test but I was WRONG. It was a written test. I was freaking out. We did not have that thing where they give you so you can know what’s on the test (I forgot what it is called). I was just studying what I believed was going to be on the test BUT turns out, it was not even on the test. I was memorizing the nervous system. I was making sure I knew what the pons, medulla, cerebellum was and where they were in the brain.  I overlooked other topics too because I didn’t think that they were that important. I did what a good student would do, I went to the classroom 30 minutes earlier so I can get use to the place (we had to go to a different classroom at a different time to take the test, which I found weird but interesting too). The mistake that I did was bringing a pen instead of a pencil. I messed up so much on the written test, I had to scribble so many times and I believe my paper in the end looked like a black hole. So during the test, I was bulleting all my points instead of writing out a whole entire sentence. Then all of a suddenly, the teaching assistant told us we needed to include a thesis, conclusion and write in full sentences. Obviously I was in panic mode. I was freaking out. I was getting hot, turning into a tomato and I had to scribble everything out and start all over. I wrote so much! I honestly don’t even know if the things that I wrote even made sense. My friend told me I was overthinking too much and I believe he was right. I basically wrote essays. 5 different essays. I also gave up on my handwriting too because I was in a rush. One hour was not enough for me! But I think I did great! Anyways, I’ve been living in the moment a lot, so I always forget to take pictures. Until I remind myself that I signed a contract saying that I will take pictues to show my experience in China. I’ve been eating quite a lot! Food is good, I can never complain. The ladies at the bakery know me. I’m a  REGULAR. Usually I would tell the ladies that I want a cold ice coffee but I went in one day and told them I wanted hot coffee and they looked confused. They had to ask me again if I wanted cold or hot in Chinese. But I said hot. I also recommend you to try chicken feet. Like it’s really good here! I love it a lot! I do eat it at home too but here it’s really good!

Chicken Feet here is bomb. I’ve always loved chicken feet but sis. I ain’t ever had any chicken feet like this before.

I’ve been thinking about how much time we have left and I do get a little sad. I really do enjoy it here! Not the weather though. It’s so weird. Last week was cold and this week is hot! Like spring came and then LEFT. I think that is why I got sick. The quick change in the weather. Also, I got use to my roommates sleeping schedule. During the first week, I decided to change my schedule so I would not need to wake up early, besides my psychology class. I have to wake up at 8am for that. Now I wake up at 11am and go to class at either 12pm or 1pm. I stay up pretty late too, which is very bad for me! Then again, that is the only way for me to contact my friends and family on the otherside of the world. A couple of days ago, my roommate was telling me how she really knows her geography really well because in high school she really had to study hard for it. She took out her geography books and showed me what they had to study and I was in SHOCK. She told me they had to remember the patterns of the wind during a specific season. They also had to memorize the different minerals in the different areas. When they were given a coordinate of a longitude and latitidude, they had to make sure they knew what was in that are. Many more! They are hardcore study students. I’m resting on my bed and my roomate is still studying until 1am. Props to her! I could never! I’m a Taobao addict now. Taobao is like Amazon but it’s all in Chinese.  Right now I’m trying to restrain myself from buying anything but I do go browsing on it. I also love saving some of the clothes onto my favorite list. Although I’ve only bought stuff on there twice. But the first time I bought 20 things and I needed a friend to come and help me grab everything. One of my friends were supprised by the amount of things that I got and she asked me if I was buying a lot of things because I was going to  live here. Haha. By the way, if you’re a size 7 and up in America, you better bring your own shoes or buy it on Taobao. They don’t have it at all in the shops. I feel like BIG FOOT. Also, I kinda like shopping here actually. The ladies treat you like a princess and shower you with compliments, which I know they’re trying to sell you stuff but I do enjoy it. I’m a sucker for compliments. Haha! I also don’t really end up buying anything because it does not fit me right. The first couple of weeks was hard for me to explain to people that I was Hmong and not Chinese. I know we originated from China but I don’t know Chinese at all and we just aren’t Chinese. On top of that, I know I’m a foreigner but they still think I’m Chinese until I tell them that I’m American. When I go out to eat with the other Americans, who don’t look Asian at all, the resturant owners are always looking at me for communication and then I’m looking at the other Americans, who know Chinese more than me, for help. Haha. It’s so funny! Last week, on Saturday, I went to go watch their basketball games. Each of the departments were going against each other. It was intense! I got a little angry too. But it was quite fun to watch. I actually never watched a basketball game back at Concordia. They really love their basketball here!

This is Felicity! Freshman of the English Department! We became friends when we were both eating in the kitchen.

JUST ME EATING FOOD.

The two men who work here are so nice!

I choked eating this spicy fish dish! It was good!

I was going to get another tattoo here actually. But I decided not to do it!



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Student Teaching in Vietnam
My time in Vietnam has been challenging, yet extremely rewarding. Coming from living in a small town, to moving to Hanoi is as close to opposites as there is. Hanoi is chaotic, charming, unique, and traditional. It seems like there are no traffic rules and to cross the street you simply have to walk, or else you’ll be standing at the corner forever. Moving to this city has been a big adjustment for me, but I have learned to embrace the uniqueness of the city and learn to enjoy the craziness. Student teaching has been the familiar feeling while I have been here, schools are generally the same anywhere you go. The staff was extremely welcoming from day 1 and I can’t be more thankful for how they have treated me. The biggest challenge with teaching instead of studying abroad is I am not surrounded by people my own age. Meeting friends has been difficult because I spend 40+ hours a week at a school where the staff goes home to their own families at night. I have found that going to the backpack area in the city is a good way to meet people, but those relationships usually last only a few days as those people move on to their next destination. I have had to learn how to travel alone. It was a challenge at first, but I began to enjoy it. I get to do whatever I want to do at any time I want to do it. I am not waiting on someone or debating where we should go next. I get to make all of the decisions on what I want to see. I have tried to travel around Vietnam as much as possible. A lot of my weekends have been spent seeing parts of the country. There have been many nights of terrible sleep on a sleeper bus, but this country has amazed me beyond belief. I did not know of the natural beauty this country has to offer before coming here. My favorite weekend trip was to the mountains of northern Vietnam, very near China. I went to a place called Ha Giang, which is a small town where a 350 km bike loop starts. I rented a motorbike and spent 3 days covering about 400 km surrounded by mountains and small Vietnamese villages. This loop was absolutely stunning. You could easily stop every 10 km and take a picture. Driving a motorbike on these winding roads was one of the most liberating feelings. I have loved all of the adventures I have been lucky enough to go on, and I am glad I have come to peace with being by myself.

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Second Month in China!
Time really fly by fast when you’re having fun. I felt like I just landed here, in China and  it’s almost the end of the semester. I am definitely going to miss this place and my friends when I leave. This month was kind of busy because we are close to midterm, so students are busy studying for test, preparing for presentation, and getting papers done. This month was busy, but I was able to travel to Macau and Guangzhou. Macau was totally amazing. We only went there for a day. We were able to visit the Ruins of St. Paul, senado square, city of dreams, and more places. The place and everything were just beautiful. Guangzhou was really big and nice too. We visit the Canton Tower and did some shopping. On the second day, we visit more of the local places and streets in Guangzhou. We went to see Bruce Lee’s ancestor’s home and a Cantonese Opera Museum. On the last day, we went to Lotus Hill to visit  gardens and pay respect the Chinese Guan Yin statue. I got to taste many Cantonese food and I will miss all the cheap food over here, when I leave.           Ruins of St. Paul, Macau City of Dreams, Macau             Canton Tower, Guangzhou Lotus Hill, Guangzhou Guan Yin Statue  

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你好 from China!

The picture is so blurry, I apologize. The sign means Fortune.

Well, let me tell you! I am glad to be alive and well. 哈哈 (haha). It is like the second or third week in China, I think. Girl, I went through a lot the moment I landed at the Beijing airport. Also, ignore my grammar and punctuation. I’m like telling my experience as if I am talking to a friend. 哈哈 GRAB SOME POPCORN or something to nibble on. But first let me tell you that I wanted to live without mainstream social media (in China, they do not allow the mainstream social media, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc). A week into my NO MAINSTREAM SOCIAL MEDIA LIFE, I felt empty. This whole long distance stuff with my friends have to be the most difficult that I have ever had to endure. Like I’m awake and they have to go to sleep. Then I would stay up late just to talk to them but they have to go to class. I’M SO SAD.  I really do miss everyone. I NEED HUGS and VALIDATION. Anyways, I had no idea I was going to be stuck at the Beijing International Airport at all. It was COLD (not as cold as Minnesota though). By the way, if you plan on going to study in China, PLEASE DO NOT fly into China at all. Take an airline that will take you to Hong Kong from the states, if that makes sense. I also advise you to go explore Hong Kong too (although I did not, I will once the semester is over with Pang). I believe that 3 days would be enough. However, the hotels are VERY EXPENSIVE. I believe that will be the most costly thing, if you were to travel there. Back to me being stuck at the Beijing Airport, on Friday night February 8th. I did not bring too much sweaters because I knew that Hong Kong (I did not even get to explore) and Zhuhai were going to be HOT and HUMID, maybe rainy. Anyways, the security guards would not let me pass through to get into the TSA (where they check your luggage, I don’t know if this is what it’s called). They told me that since my Chinese visa was marked, I was not allowed to leave. Once I leave, I would have to reapply for a new visa. They also said that 3 days was not enough time to get a new visa. MY HEAD WENT BLANK. I just got off a 14 hour flight and you expect me to process everything that you just told me? My phone did not work. I could not call anyone. I tried using their phone booths but it did not work. Me and Pang were SUPPOSED to be in the same situation actually but the lady in her line let her go. The guy in my line did not let me go. I had to leave and go back into the waiting place, I called Jessica, the study abroad coordinator at United International College, and she helped me get a hotel, that allows foreigners. BUT GURL, the moment I left the airport and took THE CAB (which, obviously the cab driver spoke NO ENGLISH and he was also an older man) I was TERRIFIED. Obviously I thought of the WORST, which is probably a bad thing to do but I was in PANIC MODE. IT’S ALL ABOUT READING BODY LANGUAGE PEOPLE! I was struggling to communicate with the cab driver until I saw him point to his eyes and his hands were spreading apart and THAT MOMENT I knew he could not read the small label of the picture, which had the address of the hotel. So I increased the size of the picture and I was able to arrive at the hotel safely. The next morning, Saturday February 9th, I went back to the airport so I can fly into Guangzhou. I got there really early (my flight was not until 9pm), 10am (crazy, am I right?). I told myself if I got lost at the Beijing Airport, I would be able to ask for help without having to freak out because I did no have enough time. Like ENOUGH TIME. I basically lived at the airport for 24 hours, waiting for my roommate to come and get me. I saw the people sleeping there so I decided to sleep too. It was not too bad I tell you. Haha. I saw everyone else doing it, so I decided to do it too! I was at the airport reading some Webtoons online, writing in my journal and also watching some Korean dramas (surprisingly the wifi at the Guangzhou airport was good)! When my roommate finally came, Sunday night, it was like my prayers were answered. You know in those movies where light is shinning behind the person? Yea, that’s how I saw her. She took me to another hotel, I slept there for the night. Monday morning is when we were to head out to our school.
  • Interesting Fact – My roommate told me that some hotels DO NOT accept foreigners. You have to find specific hotels that accept foreigners. They only accept mainland Chinese. In mainland China, they have a specific ID and if you do not have that, you are not allowed to stay. I thought that was interesting.
Through this whole 3 days experience, I BECAME A NEW PERSON! I low-key wanted my mommy. Haha. I got to school Monday morning and I was happy! Now we in Zhuhai!  GORL, looking like a local is a struggle. Obviously people assumed I was Chinese until I’m like, “what?” I tried watching some Chinese dramas and learned a few words before I landed here but it all went into the trash in my brain the moment I needed it the most. ON TOP OF THAT, when I explain to them that I am Hmong and that we originated from China and that the government calls us Miao but in America we are Hmong, they still assume I am Chinese. So I just tell them, “it’s complicating.” ALSO, since my last name is Xiong (it means bear in Chinese), they still assume that I have some Chinese roots. But nope. Don’t get me wrong, I am minoring in Hmong studies and I LOVE IT A LOT. But phew, it has been the hardest thing to explain to people. You have bust out the history textbooks and go WAY BACK in time. MY ROOMMATE IS A MIAO FROM HUNAN. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I never thought that I would actually meet a Miao. Let alone have one as a roommate. By the way, she is a strong working student! She tells me I am a good student but she studies so hard. So proud of her! She’s such a nice person! Campus Life – UIC is such a beautiful campus actually. Bigger than Concordia but smaller than the U of M. Flowers are so beautiful. I don’t even like going to the library but their library is AMAZING. SO HIGH TECH. There is this small station that allows you to disinfect the book! WOW! IT WAS SO COOL. I was so amazed! The library also have the small peaceful area where you can go relax and just meditate! YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO FIND A SPOT TO SIT AT THE LIBRARY! If I remember correctly the librarian said that there is about 2,000 (or even more) study desks for student, I thought to myself, “wow, that is enough for everyone back at CSP.” They even have movies that you can check out too. Wow. Food is pretty cheap here. The canteens are good! It is like 20RMB, which is like $2-$5USD. THEY GIVE US SUCH A BIG PORTION FOR A CHEAP PRICE. As a broke college student, I LOVE IT. The food is good! Take a picture of the food that you want. It’ll be easier to ask for that specific order since the food servers don’t speak English.

Cantonese Food.

WECHAT or ALIPAY is EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE! YOU NEED ONE. YOU NEED! LIFE WILL BE MORE CONVENIENT. But you have to have a Chinese bank card and a Chinese number in order to use WeChat. Even the elders at the supermarket will bust out their QR code for you to scan so that you can pay them. I find that to be so shocking. My parents don’t even know how to use a cellphone. Sometimes it’s inconvenient too because I have cash and I really want to pay in cash but nope, they’re like, “WeChat or Alipay Only.”
  • When you come here, it’s best to get a Chinese number. It’s much more convenient. On top of that, if you don’t have a Chinese number, there is no way for you to use WeChat or Alipay. So if you have AT&T, make sure that you unlock it before you come here. You don’t have to go through all the hassle. Also, I got a Chinese phone for 400RMB, which is like $70-$80USD. Also, it’s best if you buy the SIM card at the university. I believe that it is 5GB for 5 months? But you’ll have to instantly turn off your data when you’re done using for the things that you need to use it for.
It was so hot one day and I mean hot. I think it was like 70F and that is hot to me but I saw that some of the students were wearing sweaters or thick clothes. I came back to the dorm to ask my roommate, “Why are you guys wearing sweaters? Aren’t you hot?” She explained to me that they might have cold gas inside of them. If they went to the elders, who owns those herbal shops, they would check your pulse or your chi and determine what kind of herbs you need in order to make yourself feel better again. I thought that was fascinating. I’ve only seen that in dramas. Haha OVERALL –  The moment that you come here you have to be THANKFUL for all the things that you have back in the states and I’m also talking about even the small stuff that is there. Like I really miss my bed mattress so much. Here you’d have to buy your own mattress, the frame of the bed is hardwood. This is like something that is not that important but I do miss naturally watching my Korean dramas with a stable WiFi. This is so weird but I do miss the laundry dryer too. They do have a dryer here but it is not that strong enough to dry the clothes. It’ll eventually start making your clothes smell. It’s natural for them to hang up their clothes once it’s done being washed. I also miss the food. Like even the basic chicken with the pepper sauce. OH MAN. I thought about it one night and my stomach was growling. I’m pretty sure they have the Korean Shin Ramen here but I have not been able to find it.   My laptop broke too. I’m trying to use their laptops at the school but I honestly don’t know how to use an apple desktop. Haha.      

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Hello, from China!
Hey Everyone!! I had been here in China for 3 weeks so far and everything has been great. I have some issues with my visa entering into Zhuhai because they said I only have one entry to China, so I have to make another visa. Other than that everything is great so far! I first landed in Hong Kong and stay there for two days and have the best time there. Hong Kong has always been one of my favorite city and I have always wanted to go there. I met up with a high school friend, who went to Augsburg University in MN  and is now studying abroad  in Hong Kong.  We didn’t get to visit all of the attraction or places in Hong Kong because there wasn’t enough time, but we did get to see some of them, which was really cool and amazing. Seeing the Yik Cheong Building (aka the Monster Building/ Transformer Building) was totally amazing. We went to see the Victoria Park, which was really nice. They have all of the activities and everything you could do in the park, such as skating, basketball, swimming, volleyball, badminton, etc. I thought it was really cool how all of their parks and public spaces have wifi. Its easy to connect to wifi anywhere you go! We visited Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Island, and more! We literally went and walked around the city and I just got to say that seeing the Victoria Harbor view at night was totally amazing and you cannot miss it when you come to Hong Kong. The MTR (The Mass Transit Railway) was really fast, easy, and convenient  to use and also very cheap. It was interesting  to know that millions of people take the MTR everyday to go to work.

Yik Cheong Building (aka The Monster Building/ Transformer Building)

Avenue of Stars

Victoria Harbour view!!

One of my favorite photo from Victoria Park.

In Zhuhai: I met a lot of the exchange students and we all are became good friends. It was interesting to know that many of them are from the U.S. I was expecting more from different places of the world (lol). Anyway, we all met with each other roommates and got to know each other. On the first day, me along with the other exchange students  went  to visit the Putuo Temple in Zhuhai. It is one of the famous temple in Zhuhai and it’s so huge! We also went to see the Fisher Girl in Zhuhai. It was amazing to know how the statue still remains up and strong after the typhoon from last year. After, that we went to a mall in the city, where we do our own shopping. The Lantern Festival was celebrated this month at UIC as to ended the Chinese new year and I got to see the Chinese lion dance for the first time!! This month, we haven’t visit any other places  yet because many other  exchange students are also applying for a new visa with multiple entries, so we will do more traveling after we get our visa. The language was a struggling for me because I do not speak Chinese and many  people assume me to be Chinese or just local people. Many people here, in China do not speak English, so it’s always better to go out with a Chinese friend.

The Fisher Girl

Putuo Temple UIC: The school is like one hour from the city, but I think it’s really nice because the view is amazing and the air is great here, in Zhuhai. The campus was really nice and pretty big compare to Concordia. The UIC library was huge. They have up to four floors and you will never struggle finding a spot to sit. It was cool to know that they have a book sanitizer in the library to  clean germs or just to make the books clean. The dorms were really nice and my room got such a nice view , where I got to see the beautiful mountains. The University did not provide a mattress in dorm so I have to purchase one by my own.  But, is okay this  just  makes me feel more appreciate of the things that I have back in the states. The courses here, are really different compare to the courses we have at Concordia. They have some courses, which I thought was pretty interesting because we don’t have at Concordia. Some of the classes are up to 3 hours which is pretty long, but they do have breaks in between and you only met once in a week, which I thought was really nice because I got Friday and the weekend off. Thursdays are my busiest day because I have four classes to attend and they are literally right after one another and I  have 10 minutes to get to the next class. I actually like it because it keeps me busy. Overall, my first month has been great so far! UIC Campus Library  

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First Month in South Korea
This first month in Korea has gone by so fast, the only way I have been able to remember anything is by looking at the pictures I’ve taken! One thing that surprised me about life here at SCH is how every year, there is something that I can only explain to be like a “Welcome back to School” festival. This festival lasted three days and everyday there were different performers. The second day was the most “hyped” up day because a more famous group, iKon, was coming to perform. As well as iKon, there was my FAVORITE Korean band, Epik High. I could not believe my ears when my roommate, Minseon/Bella told me that they were coming! So this festival not only had more famous performers, but also more food trucks then I’ve ever seen all selling different Korean street food! This festival I was able to enjoy with my roommate and some of her class seniors as well as with the friends I have made here. Living here in Korea has been such an exciting adventure, everyday there is something different, new, and fun to do. I was able to visit a nearby lake and park with my roommate and one of our mutual friends, Trace, who is from Vietnam. Living in Global Village has given me so many opportunities to meet and converse with people from all around the world! Bella and I have become close and enjoy spending time with each other, we eat together a lot and even will just go for walks and exchange out cultures. The classes I am taking have all been very engaging. One of them is Taekwondo. Actually during Midterm we have our first test, which if we pass will mean we are able to go up a belt. Another class is Intercultural Dance. In this class we have learned dances from all around the world. I included a picture of me and my friend Kyra from Tennessee in our traditional Korean skirts which that day we learned the traditional dance that the King and Queen used to perform for their people as a way to bless them since, as we learned, most Kings and Queens were also Shamans. Overall, the first month here in Korea has been very fast paced but also filled with many fun memories, laughter, and great friends. I cannot wait to see what October holds for me.
안녕!
안나 <3
     

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Student Teaching Overseas?

Yes, you CAN student teach overseas!!

When I was going through my orientation as a transfer student about 4-5 years ago, I shared what I wanted to do after I graduated, which was to teach overseas. I was informed that I could student teach overseas as long as the schools were accredited and approved by Concordia. The time finally came! I was going to student teach and put every effort into getting myself to student teach overseas. It was not easy! I really wanted to student teach in countries Concordia does not have partnership with. There were only a few countries, but I was set on Thailand. I decided to email schools all over Asia, asking if I could student teach. The process was long, and, again, not easy! Thankful for Dr. Conrad and Kate’s patience and help that I get to be in Thailand as a student teacher. I am currently in Bangkok, Thailand student teaching at International Community School. A week of student teaching has been nothing but confusion. It is normal to be confused when you’re doing something for the first time. It is all a learning process! You get better and understand more as you keep your chin up and persevere ASKING questions.

Inside the school

 
  I have been in Thailand for only a week and four days and I am already homesick, however, that doesn’t stop me from fulfilling student teaching to the fullest and exploring. It helps that I have friends from Minnesota living in Thailand doing ministry work with the local Thai. They have shown me great hospitality as they take me out getting a SIM card, showing me how to take public transportation, and taking me around all day long to keep me awake so I can adapt to the time. Being around friends from home helps me to not miss home too much!

Overview of Bangkok from a friend’s apartment on the 17th floor.

Mo Chit, Bangkok, Thailand. The place you go for the weekend night market. This area is always so busy with traffic. Even the bus stop is busy!

Behind a coffee shop church I attended. This is the true picture of what it’s like in the city of Bangkok.

  Living alone is definitely stretching me in many areas of my life. I’ve gone overseas before to study abroad, but I lived with 11 other girls in Korea. There were also programs to assist me in anything I needed help with. However, I am living the independent, adult life right now figuring everything out on my own and making sure I’m being fed. I have to make sure I am communicating both here in Thailand and back at home in regards to my daily life AND student teaching. I have learned to be bold and travel on my own if I have to. I live quite far from downtown Bangkok, which is where a few friends live and I go there during the weekends. Last night I had to learn how to take the BTS, or skytrain, home and catch a taxi telling them where I need to go in Thai. The little things like this teaches you a thousand life lessons!! Although challenges are frustrating and uncomfortable, I love them. They help you grow and mold different perspectives on life.

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The end of an era..

After almost a year of studying abroad in South Korea, I had to say goodbye. I’ve been back home for two weeks, and luckily, I am well adjusted to the time zone, after struggling for a week! Reverse culture shock is definitely REAL, and I almost can’t believe I’m actually back in Minnesota now. Honestly, I did happen to cry once I landed at the MSP airport!! I don’t know..there was just a surge of confusing emotions. Was I..sad? happy? relieved? I couldn’t exactly pinpoint my feelings at that moment! Studying abroad is like a dream, or more so like you’re living a second life. My life in Korea was totally different than my life here back in Minnesota, and being re-connected with one, but having memories of the other is just..so..weird? There’s no other way to put it. It’s like I’ve lived two lives! 

It’s funny how my life has drastically changed while being in Korea, but once I arrived home, nothing has changed and everything is the same! It’s just an interesting realization..but also so bizarre. I don’t know! It’s something you need to experience for yourself. This did make me realize that there’s a whole world out there outside of Minnesota, so I hope you all take advantage of that!! 

Oh, and here are some study abroad tips that I highly recommend you all take into consideration! 

  1. BE OPEN MINDED. 
    it’s definitely easier said than done. You’re in a new country, and you probably know nothing of it besides the things you read and see in the media. That’s only a fraction of what the country really is, so be prepared for anything!!  Also, be mindful of the cuisine in the country you’re studying abroad in. Being in South Korea, I know some exchange students were not as adventurous and nervous to eat Korean food, but know that the culture’s cuisine helps you connect with the country and people, and you’re studying abroad!! so you should be prepared to try new things! Granted, you don’t have to try everything, but I advise you all to at least try the basic, well-known food items in the country that you’re studying in! It’ll definitely enhance your experience! 
  2. LEARN THE COUNTRY’S LANGUAGE
    Now, i’m not telling you to stay in your dorm and study 24/7! But, you should definitely take the time and energy to learn enough of the country’s language to get by. (especially if the primary language isn’t English) Sure, most people can survive the country with having no knowledge of the language..as TOURISTS (joking!), but as someone who lives in the country, whether it be four months or a year, I think it’s beneficial, and you will definitely feel more connected to the country you’re studying abroad in! // Also if the country you’re in has common curtesy gestures you’re not familiar with, definitely learn that as well! 
  3. RESPECT THE COUNTRY YOU ARE STUDYING ABROAD IN
    Please be mindful and respectful of the country as a whole, and try not to get into any serious conflicts while abroad! I know specifically in Korea, there are some places where foreigners aren’t allowed in because of a past event or conflict having to do with foreigners. Sure, you may think some things are strange or not right, but remember, you’re a guest in the country, and any disruptive things you do will not only reflect you, but your nationality, host school, and home school. So, just be mindful! 
  4. HAVE A GREAT TIME AND EXPERIENCE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!
    Studying abroad was the best experience ever, and I enjoyed it so much. It was also so easy being able to study abroad through Concordia as well, so I really hope you all take advantage of studying abroad as a university student!! 


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A Year Experience Away From Home

It’s been about two weeks since I arrived back to Minnesota, and I have to say that it feels like nothing has changed. I feel that coming back, it’s the same as usual, and that my year in Korea went by too fast. Even though, I did many different and fun things during my year away from friends and family. 

After finals ended, I went on another out of country trip; this time it was the Philippines. I went to Palawan because one of my global village friends suggested it, since she also solo travelled a lot too. It was exciting to travel alone again, but I was more nervous because Palawan is still developing. But it was so beautiful, and I definitely don’t regret it. I did island tours in El Nido, and I met other solo travelers too. This trip allowed me to do more self discovery and also relaxation; it served as a great getaway for me. 

Being back home, everything is the same as how I left it. Not much has changed, and I don’t feel too sad about leaving Korea, surprisingly. Many of my friends are sad to have left, but I’m okay with it. Being abroad a year, I feel that I experience Korea so greatly, that I know for sure that I’ll be back. Something I’d tell to future students who want to study in South Korea, is to have fun but be responsible. South Korea is GREAT for us younger folks! There’s so many fun things to do and meeting people, but learn to be responsible and know that it’s ok to say no in front of peer pressure. Also, I urge that all students should keep an open mind and be understanding of people of different opinions. Even if you experience some ignorance, try to educate others and be the bigger person. Also, don’t be afraid to do things by yourself! Travel to other countries with friends or solo, either way if you keep common sense with you and be safe, it will be worth it. Anyways I’ll be ending my blog here, and I hope you enjoyed reading my experiences abroad! Thank you for reading!



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April in China
This month I didn’t really go anywhere other than trying out all kinds of food. The food here are so good and cheap!  I’m really going to miss it when I leave.  For Easter holiday, we did a potluck, where everyone brings in and make their own meal. Me and Christina decided to make this Thai dish called Kao Pia. It was a lot of fun. Me and Christina were  the last one to finish cooking our meal. It took a while because we have to roll and cut our noodle before we could boil it. I was surprised at how  everyone loves our meal. I thought many of them couldn’t eat spicy, but turns out they love our spicy sauce. Many of them keep coming back for second and third. There wasn’t a lot, but was enough for everyone. On our Easter break it was raining, so I decided to stay on campus instead of going out. Couple of students actually went back home for the holiday. This month me along with the other exchange  students attended the high table. It was great to see how nice everyone look and the event was great. The speech given by our guest speaker was great. I thought it was really inspirational  about his experience on pursuing  a higher education and also going out of country to study. Me and Christina also met with two other students who  came to study at Concordia before. We met a little late, but we finally came together.      

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Hey CSP Fam!
I’m two months late but imagine this the middle of March. I am sorry. I took my first two tests here about a week ago (a month ago). I believe I did the worst in my Chinese Elementary Class because it’s hard learnng a new language. Especially if it’s in a whole different character. But we are learning the pinyin form, which is much easier. My friends told me that they usually learn the pinyin form first then they go onto the characters, which I most likely will not be able to learn. HOWEVER, the psychology test that I took was OVERWHELMING. I honestly did not know what I was getting myself into. I was expecting it to be a multiple choice test but I was WRONG. It was a written test. I was freaking out. We did not have that thing where they give you so you can know what’s on the test (I forgot what it is called). I was just studying what I believed was going to be on the test BUT turns out, it was not even on the test. I was memorizing the nervous system. I was making sure I knew what the pons, medulla, cerebellum was and where they were in the brain.  I overlooked other topics too because I didn’t think that they were that important. I did what a good student would do, I went to the classroom 30 minutes earlier so I can get use to the place (we had to go to a different classroom at a different time to take the test, which I found weird but interesting too). The mistake that I did was bringing a pen instead of a pencil. I messed up so much on the written test, I had to scribble so many times and I believe my paper in the end looked like a black hole. So during the test, I was bulleting all my points instead of writing out a whole entire sentence. Then all of a suddenly, the teaching assistant told us we needed to include a thesis, conclusion and write in full sentences. Obviously I was in panic mode. I was freaking out. I was getting hot, turning into a tomato and I had to scribble everything out and start all over. I wrote so much! I honestly don’t even know if the things that I wrote even made sense. My friend told me I was overthinking too much and I believe he was right. I basically wrote essays. 5 different essays. I also gave up on my handwriting too because I was in a rush. One hour was not enough for me! But I think I did great! Anyways, I’ve been living in the moment a lot, so I always forget to take pictures. Until I remind myself that I signed a contract saying that I will take pictues to show my experience in China. I’ve been eating quite a lot! Food is good, I can never complain. The ladies at the bakery know me. I’m a  REGULAR. Usually I would tell the ladies that I want a cold ice coffee but I went in one day and told them I wanted hot coffee and they looked confused. They had to ask me again if I wanted cold or hot in Chinese. But I said hot. I also recommend you to try chicken feet. Like it’s really good here! I love it a lot! I do eat it at home too but here it’s really good!

Chicken Feet here is bomb. I’ve always loved chicken feet but sis. I ain’t ever had any chicken feet like this before.

I’ve been thinking about how much time we have left and I do get a little sad. I really do enjoy it here! Not the weather though. It’s so weird. Last week was cold and this week is hot! Like spring came and then LEFT. I think that is why I got sick. The quick change in the weather. Also, I got use to my roommates sleeping schedule. During the first week, I decided to change my schedule so I would not need to wake up early, besides my psychology class. I have to wake up at 8am for that. Now I wake up at 11am and go to class at either 12pm or 1pm. I stay up pretty late too, which is very bad for me! Then again, that is the only way for me to contact my friends and family on the otherside of the world. A couple of days ago, my roommate was telling me how she really knows her geography really well because in high school she really had to study hard for it. She took out her geography books and showed me what they had to study and I was in SHOCK. She told me they had to remember the patterns of the wind during a specific season. They also had to memorize the different minerals in the different areas. When they were given a coordinate of a longitude and latitidude, they had to make sure they knew what was in that are. Many more! They are hardcore study students. I’m resting on my bed and my roomate is still studying until 1am. Props to her! I could never! I’m a Taobao addict now. Taobao is like Amazon but it’s all in Chinese.  Right now I’m trying to restrain myself from buying anything but I do go browsing on it. I also love saving some of the clothes onto my favorite list. Although I’ve only bought stuff on there twice. But the first time I bought 20 things and I needed a friend to come and help me grab everything. One of my friends were supprised by the amount of things that I got and she asked me if I was buying a lot of things because I was going to  live here. Haha. By the way, if you’re a size 7 and up in America, you better bring your own shoes or buy it on Taobao. They don’t have it at all in the shops. I feel like BIG FOOT. Also, I kinda like shopping here actually. The ladies treat you like a princess and shower you with compliments, which I know they’re trying to sell you stuff but I do enjoy it. I’m a sucker for compliments. Haha! I also don’t really end up buying anything because it does not fit me right. The first couple of weeks was hard for me to explain to people that I was Hmong and not Chinese. I know we originated from China but I don’t know Chinese at all and we just aren’t Chinese. On top of that, I know I’m a foreigner but they still think I’m Chinese until I tell them that I’m American. When I go out to eat with the other Americans, who don’t look Asian at all, the resturant owners are always looking at me for communication and then I’m looking at the other Americans, who know Chinese more than me, for help. Haha. It’s so funny! Last week, on Saturday, I went to go watch their basketball games. Each of the departments were going against each other. It was intense! I got a little angry too. But it was quite fun to watch. I actually never watched a basketball game back at Concordia. They really love their basketball here!

This is Felicity! Freshman of the English Department! We became friends when we were both eating in the kitchen.

JUST ME EATING FOOD.

The two men who work here are so nice!

I choked eating this spicy fish dish! It was good!

I was going to get another tattoo here actually. But I decided not to do it!



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Student Teaching in Vietnam
My time in Vietnam has been challenging, yet extremely rewarding. Coming from living in a small town, to moving to Hanoi is as close to opposites as there is. Hanoi is chaotic, charming, unique, and traditional. It seems like there are no traffic rules and to cross the street you simply have to walk, or else you’ll be standing at the corner forever. Moving to this city has been a big adjustment for me, but I have learned to embrace the uniqueness of the city and learn to enjoy the craziness. Student teaching has been the familiar feeling while I have been here, schools are generally the same anywhere you go. The staff was extremely welcoming from day 1 and I can’t be more thankful for how they have treated me. The biggest challenge with teaching instead of studying abroad is I am not surrounded by people my own age. Meeting friends has been difficult because I spend 40+ hours a week at a school where the staff goes home to their own families at night. I have found that going to the backpack area in the city is a good way to meet people, but those relationships usually last only a few days as those people move on to their next destination. I have had to learn how to travel alone. It was a challenge at first, but I began to enjoy it. I get to do whatever I want to do at any time I want to do it. I am not waiting on someone or debating where we should go next. I get to make all of the decisions on what I want to see. I have tried to travel around Vietnam as much as possible. A lot of my weekends have been spent seeing parts of the country. There have been many nights of terrible sleep on a sleeper bus, but this country has amazed me beyond belief. I did not know of the natural beauty this country has to offer before coming here. My favorite weekend trip was to the mountains of northern Vietnam, very near China. I went to a place called Ha Giang, which is a small town where a 350 km bike loop starts. I rented a motorbike and spent 3 days covering about 400 km surrounded by mountains and small Vietnamese villages. This loop was absolutely stunning. You could easily stop every 10 km and take a picture. Driving a motorbike on these winding roads was one of the most liberating feelings. I have loved all of the adventures I have been lucky enough to go on, and I am glad I have come to peace with being by myself.

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Second Month in China!
Time really fly by fast when you’re having fun. I felt like I just landed here, in China and  it’s almost the end of the semester. I am definitely going to miss this place and my friends when I leave. This month was kind of busy because we are close to midterm, so students are busy studying for test, preparing for presentation, and getting papers done. This month was busy, but I was able to travel to Macau and Guangzhou. Macau was totally amazing. We only went there for a day. We were able to visit the Ruins of St. Paul, senado square, city of dreams, and more places. The place and everything were just beautiful. Guangzhou was really big and nice too. We visit the Canton Tower and did some shopping. On the second day, we visit more of the local places and streets in Guangzhou. We went to see Bruce Lee’s ancestor’s home and a Cantonese Opera Museum. On the last day, we went to Lotus Hill to visit  gardens and pay respect the Chinese Guan Yin statue. I got to taste many Cantonese food and I will miss all the cheap food over here, when I leave.           Ruins of St. Paul, Macau City of Dreams, Macau             Canton Tower, Guangzhou Lotus Hill, Guangzhou Guan Yin Statue  

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你好 from China!

The picture is so blurry, I apologize. The sign means Fortune.

Well, let me tell you! I am glad to be alive and well. 哈哈 (haha). It is like the second or third week in China, I think. Girl, I went through a lot the moment I landed at the Beijing airport. Also, ignore my grammar and punctuation. I’m like telling my experience as if I am talking to a friend. 哈哈 GRAB SOME POPCORN or something to nibble on. But first let me tell you that I wanted to live without mainstream social media (in China, they do not allow the mainstream social media, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc). A week into my NO MAINSTREAM SOCIAL MEDIA LIFE, I felt empty. This whole long distance stuff with my friends have to be the most difficult that I have ever had to endure. Like I’m awake and they have to go to sleep. Then I would stay up late just to talk to them but they have to go to class. I’M SO SAD.  I really do miss everyone. I NEED HUGS and VALIDATION. Anyways, I had no idea I was going to be stuck at the Beijing International Airport at all. It was COLD (not as cold as Minnesota though). By the way, if you plan on going to study in China, PLEASE DO NOT fly into China at all. Take an airline that will take you to Hong Kong from the states, if that makes sense. I also advise you to go explore Hong Kong too (although I did not, I will once the semester is over with Pang). I believe that 3 days would be enough. However, the hotels are VERY EXPENSIVE. I believe that will be the most costly thing, if you were to travel there. Back to me being stuck at the Beijing Airport, on Friday night February 8th. I did not bring too much sweaters because I knew that Hong Kong (I did not even get to explore) and Zhuhai were going to be HOT and HUMID, maybe rainy. Anyways, the security guards would not let me pass through to get into the TSA (where they check your luggage, I don’t know if this is what it’s called). They told me that since my Chinese visa was marked, I was not allowed to leave. Once I leave, I would have to reapply for a new visa. They also said that 3 days was not enough time to get a new visa. MY HEAD WENT BLANK. I just got off a 14 hour flight and you expect me to process everything that you just told me? My phone did not work. I could not call anyone. I tried using their phone booths but it did not work. Me and Pang were SUPPOSED to be in the same situation actually but the lady in her line let her go. The guy in my line did not let me go. I had to leave and go back into the waiting place, I called Jessica, the study abroad coordinator at United International College, and she helped me get a hotel, that allows foreigners. BUT GURL, the moment I left the airport and took THE CAB (which, obviously the cab driver spoke NO ENGLISH and he was also an older man) I was TERRIFIED. Obviously I thought of the WORST, which is probably a bad thing to do but I was in PANIC MODE. IT’S ALL ABOUT READING BODY LANGUAGE PEOPLE! I was struggling to communicate with the cab driver until I saw him point to his eyes and his hands were spreading apart and THAT MOMENT I knew he could not read the small label of the picture, which had the address of the hotel. So I increased the size of the picture and I was able to arrive at the hotel safely. The next morning, Saturday February 9th, I went back to the airport so I can fly into Guangzhou. I got there really early (my flight was not until 9pm), 10am (crazy, am I right?). I told myself if I got lost at the Beijing Airport, I would be able to ask for help without having to freak out because I did no have enough time. Like ENOUGH TIME. I basically lived at the airport for 24 hours, waiting for my roommate to come and get me. I saw the people sleeping there so I decided to sleep too. It was not too bad I tell you. Haha. I saw everyone else doing it, so I decided to do it too! I was at the airport reading some Webtoons online, writing in my journal and also watching some Korean dramas (surprisingly the wifi at the Guangzhou airport was good)! When my roommate finally came, Sunday night, it was like my prayers were answered. You know in those movies where light is shinning behind the person? Yea, that’s how I saw her. She took me to another hotel, I slept there for the night. Monday morning is when we were to head out to our school.
  • Interesting Fact – My roommate told me that some hotels DO NOT accept foreigners. You have to find specific hotels that accept foreigners. They only accept mainland Chinese. In mainland China, they have a specific ID and if you do not have that, you are not allowed to stay. I thought that was interesting.
Through this whole 3 days experience, I BECAME A NEW PERSON! I low-key wanted my mommy. Haha. I got to school Monday morning and I was happy! Now we in Zhuhai!  GORL, looking like a local is a struggle. Obviously people assumed I was Chinese until I’m like, “what?” I tried watching some Chinese dramas and learned a few words before I landed here but it all went into the trash in my brain the moment I needed it the most. ON TOP OF THAT, when I explain to them that I am Hmong and that we originated from China and that the government calls us Miao but in America we are Hmong, they still assume I am Chinese. So I just tell them, “it’s complicating.” ALSO, since my last name is Xiong (it means bear in Chinese), they still assume that I have some Chinese roots. But nope. Don’t get me wrong, I am minoring in Hmong studies and I LOVE IT A LOT. But phew, it has been the hardest thing to explain to people. You have bust out the history textbooks and go WAY BACK in time. MY ROOMMATE IS A MIAO FROM HUNAN. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I never thought that I would actually meet a Miao. Let alone have one as a roommate. By the way, she is a strong working student! She tells me I am a good student but she studies so hard. So proud of her! She’s such a nice person! Campus Life – UIC is such a beautiful campus actually. Bigger than Concordia but smaller than the U of M. Flowers are so beautiful. I don’t even like going to the library but their library is AMAZING. SO HIGH TECH. There is this small station that allows you to disinfect the book! WOW! IT WAS SO COOL. I was so amazed! The library also have the small peaceful area where you can go relax and just meditate! YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO FIND A SPOT TO SIT AT THE LIBRARY! If I remember correctly the librarian said that there is about 2,000 (or even more) study desks for student, I thought to myself, “wow, that is enough for everyone back at CSP.” They even have movies that you can check out too. Wow. Food is pretty cheap here. The canteens are good! It is like 20RMB, which is like $2-$5USD. THEY GIVE US SUCH A BIG PORTION FOR A CHEAP PRICE. As a broke college student, I LOVE IT. The food is good! Take a picture of the food that you want. It’ll be easier to ask for that specific order since the food servers don’t speak English.

Cantonese Food.

WECHAT or ALIPAY is EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE! YOU NEED ONE. YOU NEED! LIFE WILL BE MORE CONVENIENT. But you have to have a Chinese bank card and a Chinese number in order to use WeChat. Even the elders at the supermarket will bust out their QR code for you to scan so that you can pay them. I find that to be so shocking. My parents don’t even know how to use a cellphone. Sometimes it’s inconvenient too because I have cash and I really want to pay in cash but nope, they’re like, “WeChat or Alipay Only.”
  • When you come here, it’s best to get a Chinese number. It’s much more convenient. On top of that, if you don’t have a Chinese number, there is no way for you to use WeChat or Alipay. So if you have AT&T, make sure that you unlock it before you come here. You don’t have to go through all the hassle. Also, I got a Chinese phone for 400RMB, which is like $70-$80USD. Also, it’s best if you buy the SIM card at the university. I believe that it is 5GB for 5 months? But you’ll have to instantly turn off your data when you’re done using for the things that you need to use it for.
It was so hot one day and I mean hot. I think it was like 70F and that is hot to me but I saw that some of the students were wearing sweaters or thick clothes. I came back to the dorm to ask my roommate, “Why are you guys wearing sweaters? Aren’t you hot?” She explained to me that they might have cold gas inside of them. If they went to the elders, who owns those herbal shops, they would check your pulse or your chi and determine what kind of herbs you need in order to make yourself feel better again. I thought that was fascinating. I’ve only seen that in dramas. Haha OVERALL –  The moment that you come here you have to be THANKFUL for all the things that you have back in the states and I’m also talking about even the small stuff that is there. Like I really miss my bed mattress so much. Here you’d have to buy your own mattress, the frame of the bed is hardwood. This is like something that is not that important but I do miss naturally watching my Korean dramas with a stable WiFi. This is so weird but I do miss the laundry dryer too. They do have a dryer here but it is not that strong enough to dry the clothes. It’ll eventually start making your clothes smell. It’s natural for them to hang up their clothes once it’s done being washed. I also miss the food. Like even the basic chicken with the pepper sauce. OH MAN. I thought about it one night and my stomach was growling. I’m pretty sure they have the Korean Shin Ramen here but I have not been able to find it.   My laptop broke too. I’m trying to use their laptops at the school but I honestly don’t know how to use an apple desktop. Haha.      

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Hello, from China!
Hey Everyone!! I had been here in China for 3 weeks so far and everything has been great. I have some issues with my visa entering into Zhuhai because they said I only have one entry to China, so I have to make another visa. Other than that everything is great so far! I first landed in Hong Kong and stay there for two days and have the best time there. Hong Kong has always been one of my favorite city and I have always wanted to go there. I met up with a high school friend, who went to Augsburg University in MN  and is now studying abroad  in Hong Kong.  We didn’t get to visit all of the attraction or places in Hong Kong because there wasn’t enough time, but we did get to see some of them, which was really cool and amazing. Seeing the Yik Cheong Building (aka the Monster Building/ Transformer Building) was totally amazing. We went to see the Victoria Park, which was really nice. They have all of the activities and everything you could do in the park, such as skating, basketball, swimming, volleyball, badminton, etc. I thought it was really cool how all of their parks and public spaces have wifi. Its easy to connect to wifi anywhere you go! We visited Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Island, and more! We literally went and walked around the city and I just got to say that seeing the Victoria Harbor view at night was totally amazing and you cannot miss it when you come to Hong Kong. The MTR (The Mass Transit Railway) was really fast, easy, and convenient  to use and also very cheap. It was interesting  to know that millions of people take the MTR everyday to go to work.

Yik Cheong Building (aka The Monster Building/ Transformer Building)

Avenue of Stars

Victoria Harbour view!!

One of my favorite photo from Victoria Park.

In Zhuhai: I met a lot of the exchange students and we all are became good friends. It was interesting to know that many of them are from the U.S. I was expecting more from different places of the world (lol). Anyway, we all met with each other roommates and got to know each other. On the first day, me along with the other exchange students  went  to visit the Putuo Temple in Zhuhai. It is one of the famous temple in Zhuhai and it’s so huge! We also went to see the Fisher Girl in Zhuhai. It was amazing to know how the statue still remains up and strong after the typhoon from last year. After, that we went to a mall in the city, where we do our own shopping. The Lantern Festival was celebrated this month at UIC as to ended the Chinese new year and I got to see the Chinese lion dance for the first time!! This month, we haven’t visit any other places  yet because many other  exchange students are also applying for a new visa with multiple entries, so we will do more traveling after we get our visa. The language was a struggling for me because I do not speak Chinese and many  people assume me to be Chinese or just local people. Many people here, in China do not speak English, so it’s always better to go out with a Chinese friend.

The Fisher Girl

Putuo Temple UIC: The school is like one hour from the city, but I think it’s really nice because the view is amazing and the air is great here, in Zhuhai. The campus was really nice and pretty big compare to Concordia. The UIC library was huge. They have up to four floors and you will never struggle finding a spot to sit. It was cool to know that they have a book sanitizer in the library to  clean germs or just to make the books clean. The dorms were really nice and my room got such a nice view , where I got to see the beautiful mountains. The University did not provide a mattress in dorm so I have to purchase one by my own.  But, is okay this  just  makes me feel more appreciate of the things that I have back in the states. The courses here, are really different compare to the courses we have at Concordia. They have some courses, which I thought was pretty interesting because we don’t have at Concordia. Some of the classes are up to 3 hours which is pretty long, but they do have breaks in between and you only met once in a week, which I thought was really nice because I got Friday and the weekend off. Thursdays are my busiest day because I have four classes to attend and they are literally right after one another and I  have 10 minutes to get to the next class. I actually like it because it keeps me busy. Overall, my first month has been great so far! UIC Campus Library  

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Student Teaching Overseas?

Yes, you CAN student teach overseas!!

When I was going through my orientation as a transfer student about 4-5 years ago, I shared what I wanted to do after I graduated, which was to teach overseas. I was informed that I could student teach overseas as long as the schools were accredited and approved by Concordia. The time finally came! I was going to student teach and put every effort into getting myself to student teach overseas. It was not easy! I really wanted to student teach in countries Concordia does not have partnership with. There were only a few countries, but I was set on Thailand. I decided to email schools all over Asia, asking if I could student teach. The process was long, and, again, not easy! Thankful for Dr. Conrad and Kate’s patience and help that I get to be in Thailand as a student teacher. I am currently in Bangkok, Thailand student teaching at International Community School. A week of student teaching has been nothing but confusion. It is normal to be confused when you’re doing something for the first time. It is all a learning process! You get better and understand more as you keep your chin up and persevere ASKING questions.

Inside the school

 
  I have been in Thailand for only a week and four days and I am already homesick, however, that doesn’t stop me from fulfilling student teaching to the fullest and exploring. It helps that I have friends from Minnesota living in Thailand doing ministry work with the local Thai. They have shown me great hospitality as they take me out getting a SIM card, showing me how to take public transportation, and taking me around all day long to keep me awake so I can adapt to the time. Being around friends from home helps me to not miss home too much!

Overview of Bangkok from a friend’s apartment on the 17th floor.

Mo Chit, Bangkok, Thailand. The place you go for the weekend night market. This area is always so busy with traffic. Even the bus stop is busy!

Behind a coffee shop church I attended. This is the true picture of what it’s like in the city of Bangkok.

  Living alone is definitely stretching me in many areas of my life. I’ve gone overseas before to study abroad, but I lived with 11 other girls in Korea. There were also programs to assist me in anything I needed help with. However, I am living the independent, adult life right now figuring everything out on my own and making sure I’m being fed. I have to make sure I am communicating both here in Thailand and back at home in regards to my daily life AND student teaching. I have learned to be bold and travel on my own if I have to. I live quite far from downtown Bangkok, which is where a few friends live and I go there during the weekends. Last night I had to learn how to take the BTS, or skytrain, home and catch a taxi telling them where I need to go in Thai. The little things like this teaches you a thousand life lessons!! Although challenges are frustrating and uncomfortable, I love them. They help you grow and mold different perspectives on life.

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