Upon returning, I was very glad that I chose to go on this study abroad program to China and very thankful to have had this possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From the Great Wall of China to the Pearl Tower to the Leifeng Pagoda to the Terra Cotta Warriors, I saw so many pieces of rich history and magnificent architecture. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel to China and have this experience. I met a lot of friends (from UGA, Penn State, and China) and important contacts (possibly future employers…) and saw many amazing and eye-opening things.
One of the only complaints I have about the trip is that I feel that I didn’t get enough hands-on learning about China’s food industry. We did a few factory tours (instant noodles, chocolate, shrimp, and functional foods), but I feel like I would have benefited from doing more tours like this. There was definitely enough time during the month. But I realize that this is the first year for this program, and as it progresses, more will probably be added to it. I have voiced my opinions and thoughts to Dr. Huang and Dr. Ames in hopes to improve the trip for next year. I would suggest visits to tea and soy sauce processing facilities. These would provide a great environment to learn about food processing and fermentation. They are making the optional trip to Xian part of the study abroad program next year, so that will be nice!
While I did miss some things at home while I was abroad (mainly my family, friends, bed, less smelly bathrooms, and Facebook), I wish that I could have stayed longer. I love being in other countries and there are so many more things I wish I could have seen! I always start to feel really depressed a few days after getting back from a trip. After the initial excitement of getting back and seeing everyone, going back to your normal routine feels very empty and boring. Hopefully I will get over this soon. I have a lot of stuff to get done here!