Perhaps the most enriching experience of my life was the opportunity to go to Shanghai China, for free! I was hesitant to apply for Preview, a unique Arcadia University program that allows students to travel to locations all over the world for spring break, at a severely discounted rate. Despite being in the Honors Program, which would cover my fee to travel to another country, I would not have any money to spend while I was abroad; and going to a foreign country with no money did not seem like a very smart idea to me. However, I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from a trustee on the Board of Trustees at Arcadia University that provided me with some funds to spend while I was abroad. It was a blessing on top of a blessing. Not only was my school giving me the opportunity to travel to a place that I would never have been able to travel to on my own, but someone was going to give me money to enjoy this once in a lifetime trip. Words can’t describe how grateful I was, and still am.
After the first flight of my life, which lasted over fourteen hours, we reached Shanghai, China. I was about as excited as a five year old at Disneyworld. Despite this excitement, I must say it was quite a relief to finally lie down in a bed after the long flight. The next day everyone feverishly prepared to head out for the day.
Our first destination was the Financial Tower. It was once the tallest building in the world. Once at the top of the Tower my classmates and I beheld the sight of the beautiful city. While most of my classmates were taking photos and enjoying the sights, I was lost in a momentary state of self-reflection. I was high above the ground, and to me, it felt like I was at the top of the world. There is something life changing about realizing that you are in a place of great significance to the world. I felt like this was something that was only possible in fiction, but here I was. This was only the beginning of the journey, but as I beheld the beauty of China from high up in the Financial Tower, I truly felt complete.
There are so many experiences I had in China that I could ramble on all day everyday about. However, the magic after Preview was also quite powerful. After Preview I realized that I see the world in such a different way. I had never left the country before, so it was a brand new experience for me. My time in China filled me with a hunger to be more globally aware. The people of China used to seem so far away and unreal to me. To be in China, and seeing people going through their life and struggles, showed me that there is so much more to the world. I find myself looking at stories about China on the Internet, trying to keep myself updated on the goings on of Shanghai. It would not be an exaggeration to say that China Preview changed my life.