The Journey Begins

So my name is Alexis and some of you may or may not have read my blog from when I went to Spain. I am soon to embark on a new journey. I am, as you may have guessed, going to China!!! I leave February 5th and do not return until August 22nd. I am very excited for this new journey.

After Spain I came back to NY and finished my senior year of college at St. John Fisher. It was tough coming back but I did it! Even though I was working on a double thesis and taking French and Astronomy, I somehow managed to rock my senior year and finish off my college career with a 3.93! I was originally going to go to graduate school at Syracuse University. I was so sure I was going I didn’t really have a back up plan. I had the Peace Corps in the works but my mom was NOT comfortable with that and I was little skeptical about going. Then I looked up about Peace Corps life and crimes rates and such and I said “no way. “So I came to find out that I was going to have to take 80K in loans out and so I said you know what I can take some time off and try to go back in a few years.  I just started working and trying to figure out what to do with my life.

Two of my best friends from study abroad are back in Spain and I was like “why am I not there?” So I decided to look into it. One of my friends, Jenna, went with CIEE who just happens to be the people we went with to study abroad. She told me I should definitely come to Spain in the spring and I was like “heck yea.” I looked on the CIEE teach abroad website and I was interested to see China on that list. I thought hey China could be cool and so I looked into going to China. I was sold almost instantly. 1- It’s China 2- They pay for housing 3- It’s China! 4- Learning Chinese could be so beneficial to me in the future, especially since it’s the most spoken language in the world (mainly in China but still) 5- I might really like teaching English and I could do it anywhere 6-Think about how cool going to China would be!

So it was decided, I was going to China. This was the beginning of my journey. I applied and got accepted and began the long process of traveling half way across the world. Literally, China is about 7,100 miles going either east or west. Going to China actually involves a lot of work. First, China requires a lot of health information and health records as well as quite a few shots. Someone going to China needs to be current on all their shots, see if they need a Hep B booster, get Hep A, get Typhoid, get Malaria pills and make sure they got a flu shot. They must also, have a chest x-ray, blood tests and a physical. Then comes the visa and all the paperwork involved, including a state background check. Not only that, but China likes its English teachers to be TEFL certified. I took an online class through International TEFL Academy and will be certified as soon as I finish my last 10 hours of observation/teaching!

I just bought my flight today and I am flying all over the world literally. It’s actually really crazy but it was the cheapest way to get to China and I get to spend 24 hrs in Helsinki, Finland! Otherwise, I would spend $500 more and I’d have a 15 hr flight, which I might go crazy on. I’ve already started packing. In fact, I’ve gone through my suitcase twice and once I get the rest of the stuff to put in there, I’ll have to go through it again. I’m taking one suitcase and one carry on, so I’m packing light! I learned my lesson last time.

So that’s the story so far. I really am so excited to go and see as much of China as I can and to learn as much Chinese as I can. But at the same time I get nervous and a little anxious. Time has been flying since I found out I was going and we’re less than a month away now. Well, that’s it for now. And the countdown begins!

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