Sunday, March 15, 2015:
We leave today! I am so sad! I have learned so much and just want to stay longer. However, today I had to order lunch with someone who spoke no English and this time I did not have Sijia to help me communicate. I went to a chicken place by our hotel and I kept telling the cashier the number of the meal I wanted, but she asked me questions about it and I did not understand. She eventually brought out a picture menu, but even after I pointed to what I wanted she was confused. There were two items next to each other, one was a sandwich without fries and a drink, and the other was the combo. Eventually, to communicate that I only wanted the sandwich, I pulled out 15 RMB because that was what just the sandwich costs and she understood then. Looking back, it was not that difficult, but it the moment it was extremely stressful and I was worried that I was holding up or upsetting the few people in line behind me. When I went to McDonald’s the day before, I was expecting that same situation, but the manager there spoke English so it was much easier. Tara, Bryce, Shalv and I went to People’s Square earlier today and had to take the subway, but we had Dr. Chyu give us directions before we left so we did not end up having to ask anyone where to go. Well, we did once, but the lady just looked at the address and pointed, so it was pretty straightforward. I found it was easiest to attempt to communicate with the little Chinese I knew along with pictures and hands. Other than that, it is pretty much impossible if you do not know the language. I want to learn the language so I can go back to China and communicate by myself!
Being back in the United States is weird. I am glad to be home, but I wanted to stay longer. I miss Ivy, Ariel, and Jodie already. They truly were great guides and taught us about the culture while having fun with us. Also, my professional and personal skills developed over this trip as my communication advanced and learning about the businesses in China gave me new perspectives on my major. I see how China has grown with technology over the years and why they are a great center for globalization, but the pollution is such a major problem that needs dealt with. It is holding the country back, in my opinion, so their efforts to reduce their environmental impact is more important now than ever. The technology has definitely helped China improve, but ethical concerns engineers need to be aware of when they are implementing new technology is how it effects the labor force in China as well as the environment.
That being said, I would love to revisit China and maybe even live there when the pollution dies down. I loved Innovate and am so thankful for being able to have such a life-changing experience while being immersed in a culture full of amazing people.
Bye China, Until Next Time!