The Start of A Long Adventure

So here I am in the San Francisco International Airport, and I can’t believe that this is happening right now. I am going to study abroad through a program at the University of Nevada, Reno called the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). I chose Chengdu, China over my other choice, Shanghai, because I figured I would be more immersed in Chinese culture there. Not as many English speaking people. *crossing fingers* Why immersion you ask? Whelp, for intensive language learning purposes, I'm hoping to come back fluent in Mandarin. That would be awesome.

Chengdu is the home of pandas!

This is all very surreal! Not being able to sleep a lot the past couple days might also factor into that. =D I've done a ton of research on the plane ride alone. Like how much I can pack, and I've been plotting the best spots for me to sit on the 15 hour plane ride to Hong Kong. I'm thinking window seat. I found a great site called that lets you know about the layout of the plane so you can find a good seat for yourself. It's actually kind of magical.

The past few days have been hectic. I was literally running all around Reno getting errands done. And spending time with people before I left! It was literally one thing after another. And despite how busy I was, I couldn’t quite get myself to pack. I guess that it would make it all too real to actually pack. Despite how ready I am for a new experience, I can’t help but be scared. Silly, I know, but this will be my first time out of the country – the first time away from my family for an extended period of time. So, I figured I could be excused just a for little bit. But, I woke up around 3 AM on the Saturday morning before I left anxious and knowing that I couldn’t put off packing any longer.

Here is my luggage, holding my possessions for the next 4 months

It actually took me almost until the very second that I had left Reno to pack. =/ That is what I get for procrastinating. Those of you who know me personally know my problem with procrastination. However, I did get to spend quite a bit of time with my friends, who were willing enough to come to San Francisco with me on a day trip before I headed off to SFO for my flight to China. Thanks you guys! You’re the best.

But I have to admit, as tough as leaving my friends was, I already miss my family and have found myself a little bit emotional about leaving them all. A lot of my friends that have studied abroad have found themselves completely and irrevocably in love with the places when they studied abroad and hope to go back on a permanent basis. I can’t ever see myself in that position since I am so close with my family, but who knows. You can never predict these things, and maybe I’ll love the country so much, I’ll become another one of those crazy ex-pats.

Next time you’ll hear from me, I will be on Chinese soil! Wish me luck.


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  1. Wow what a great adventure!! We will miss you! J :D

  2. i hope you have a truly amazing experience!

  3. What an opportunity! I hope you have a wonderful time.

  4. Aileen, I'm so proud of you! Enjoy your wonderful adventure!!

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