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    Posted March 17, 2014 by
    Erie, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    NSLI-Y summer in Zhuhai


    My name is Rachael Hendrickson and am a 17 year old high school student. This summer I was lucky enough to travel to Zhuhai China on the National Security Language Initiative for youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship with iEarn! This experience changed my life! I was able to experience so many new and amazing things such as living with a host family, studying at Beijing Normal University Zhuhai campus, climbing the Great Wall of China and making friendships that will last a lifetime! At first the though of studying abroad can be both exciting and scary also even when your abroad everyone experiences low points, but they are all worth it in the end! Anytime you overcome a struggle or culture difference you feel so amazing knowing you persevered. One of my greatest memories of my trip occurred at the Great Wall of China. My resident director asked everyone to write down a little blip of something that occurred on our trip to Beijing and my friend and I wrote this:

    Once we saw The Great Wall we were overwhelmed with the height and the “fabulosity” of it. After climbing to the first tower we weren’t sure if we could make it the whole way. The top tower looked so far away, so we decided to set a goal to at least reach the blue tower above us. But in our time of weakness we pulled ourselves together, turned on our music and continued to climb. Before we knew it we had reached the tower and had enough energy to keep going. Nothing felt better than reaching that top tower, looking down at the blue tower, and knowing that we made it. As Mao Zedong said, “不到长城,非不好汉[which literally translates to] Until you’ve been to The Great Wall, you’re not a proper person; [figuratively it means to get over difficulties before you can reach your goal].


    So if you can get over the difficulties of studying abroad you will be able to reach your goal rather it be language learning, cultural understanding, or both! Studying abroad will change your life forever and I believe every teenager should experience it!

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