Important Lessons Learned
If you are on your way to Asia, there are some important lessons I learned that I think one should learn before going.
First, it is actually a good idea to stay up all night packing, the night before you leave. It will help ease you out of jet lag and into a comfortable sleep upon arrival at midnight, in Vietnam.
Second, bring bug spray. Cu Chi Tunnels = hot jungle; enough said.
Third, learn to read a map. Using the subway in Shanghai was my first time ever to use underground transportation and I actually enjoyed it! As we escalated our uses it became easier to navigate, even from city to city. The subways were clean, easy to use (thanks to English signs), and a cheap way to get out and explore the city!
Fourth, doing your homework and research about each culture is extremely important. Learning about the way Asians do business was an important lesson. One example is the respect the Asian people have for each other. Also known as “saving face” it is the attitude that one never wants to disrespect someone to their face causing them embarrassment. Another example of respect is the act of bowing. In Korea, more so than China, I saw people bow very deeply to those of greater age and authority than themselves. This form of respect varied from culture to culture, so I always made it a point to follow the lead of the people I saw in each country. For example, in China and Vietnam the bowing was more of a distinct, sometimes deep, downward nod of the chin.
Finally, make the most of your trip. Keep a good attitude and try new things. Always remember to be safe, like always staying with a buddy; and stay alert to possible dangers, such as eating unpeeled fruit off the street. This is going to be a once in a life time opportunity. Not only will you get to know a great group of students very well (you are with them ALL the time), but you will also become well acquainted with the professors and staff who accompany the trip. These relationships will be of value to you for years to come.
Have a great trip!
|Cassie Flitton on her Global Learning Experience in China|