As a kid, I had always been curious. Whether that curiosity took me one block further on my bicycle, or through a wooded area in my neighborhood, I’ve always loved the adventure of travel– the exciting unknown, something different, something new. As I’ve grown older, that itch to explore has only gotten stronger. I love the rush, the energy, the learning opportunities, the logistics, and the freedom. There are very few things in life that compare to the thrill of a new location with new people and you left to figure it all out.
My newest adventure is an opportunity to live with a family in China and put my undergraduate degrees to work! I double majored in Communication and Journalism with focuses in PR, Advertising, Organization and Persuasion at Western Illinois University. I absolutely LOVED college! See why, here.
On June 20, I’ll be jumping on a nonstop flight from O’hare to Shanghai to take part in the Jinhua Home Stay Project! (I’m really just so, so excited… keep reading for details)
The Chinese Embassy has put together a program that will hopefully preserve the traditional culture of Chinese villages and create opportunities for travel and ecotourism within them.
So… what exactly will I be doing?
For three weeks I’ll live with a family in a small village in Jinhua, Zhejiang called Yuyuan. Each day my schedule will be filled to the brim with activities that’ll give me a strong insight to traditional chinese culture, customs, history, cuisine, architecture, and so much more. Here’s a few I’m extra excited about: starting my days with an early morning Tai Chi class, attending a traditional Chinese wedding, serving on a judging panel for homemade Chinese meals (cooked by the families in Yuyuan), and climbing Niutou Mountain. Thank goodness I got my Teva hiking sandals! (Here’s a complete schedule of my trip!)
Each applicant was chosen based on their individual skills and talents that can complement the skills and talents of other participants. The goal? To collaborate in the creative process and promote the Jinhua Home Stay Project. This home stay program is the first step in attracting tourists from all over the world who are interested in an authentic Chinese experience.
At the duration of the trip, I’ll have used my own unique experience in China to build and develop a fun, interesting, and creative marketing plan for the Jinhua Home Stay Project and the families partaking in the business opportunity. My role specifically in this marketing campaign will utilize photography, in-depth interviews with villagers, and blogging.
What I’m thinking, feeling, and excited for:
I should probably be a little nervous for this hefty language gap I’m about to encounter, but I think that is the most exciting part for me! There is something special about putting language to the side and connecting with people across culture. I also love the thrill of having absolutely no Idea what I am doing but finding my way to a solution.
I can’t wait to start my mornings with Tai Chi! I am a very active person, always on the go, and a little high-maintenance. Taichi, often described as meditation in motion, is all about stability and gentle movements. For a girl like me, even 30 minutes of focused relaxation is hard. I’m looking forward to developing a relaxed, go-with-the-flow mentality toward life and leisure.
THE FOOD! I am a lover of all things edible (within reason of course), and I have a very adventurous palate. I love the idea of eating like a local, with a family, and in their home, but am even more excited to step out of my comfort zone and try foods I’d otherwise never have the opportunity to try. Expect to see some pics in the next few days!
That’s all for now,