Across the Ocean

Before actually studying abroad, I often envisioned it as wild, fun and free, flooded with parties, etc. It takes less than a week for me to realize how wrong I was. Time seems to flow much more slowly here than back in Beijing. People are nice and smile a lot. Even the postman across the street says “hi!” to me.

Living abroad is tough, but the only promise you can make to those who love you is to take care of yourself. To those who plan to go to or are already in the US far away from home, there are some tips I can share:

1.Treat people the way you want to be treated. Everyone is “new” here, most without family, old friends or environment they feel comfortable in. Since we are in the same situation, is there any reason we can’t reach out to help others? As the saying I recently learned here, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” Always put yourself in other’s shoes and you’ll feel no longer alone.

2.Step out of your comfort zone and get to know the person sitting next to you, no matter what color his/her eyes are. I know saying hi to one different from you is intimidating, but believe me, they are intimidated by you as well. No one will judge your accent or appearance as long as you are showing sincerity and kindness.  Compliment their hairstyle, talk about football and some related experiences. They will be glad to speak with you!

3.Embrace every little joy in life. When shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart, I bought some candles with the smell of lavender. When coming back from home exhausted, I would light a candle and write down every funny part of the day I could remember. To survive in a totally different place can be tough, so you must learn to view things positively, pick up little hobbies, and gather the strength to move on.