By 8 a.m., we were on the bus headed to Shanghai Pudong Airport to catch our noon flight to Boston, and then onto BWI. It is hard to believe that it has been two weeks since we left the cozy confines of our homes in Baltimore. The first two days in China were slow due to the heat wave, jet lag, and culture shock. However, after the second day, time flew by like a bullet train. In the two weeks, we learned about the incredible and ancient Chinese history and culture, visited some jaw dropping and amazing sites such as the Great Wall, indulged our taste buds with different regional cuisines, explored China, and made some new friends halfway around the globe. At the airport, we checked in without any problems and were ready for our long flight back home. We entertained ourselves on the plane by watching movies and laughing about our stories from China. We could not wait to be back on home turf, but we were already beginning to miss China.
Once in Boston, there was a five-hour layover, which was plenty of time to complete immigration, customs, and check-in to our final flight to Baltimore. We grabbed some dinner at the airport while we waited. Many of us fell asleep waiting due to jet lag as well as being tired from a mentally and physically demanding trip. We were only a mere hour and a half away from being home, and could not wait. The last leg of the flight made it to Baltimore in no time and then we heard those sweet words “welcome to Baltimore.” Many of our family and friends were there to receive us at the airport. We shared many hugs and kisses with them. All of our luggage arrived with no issues. We shared a hug with our trip mates one last time before we went home. In the end, we came back with an extra suitcase, incredible memories, and new knowledge and understanding of China. The eleven of us will always have one thing in common – our life change experience to China.
Our team of 11 students included: Alicia Uyi-Igodan, Aliyyah Chapman, Angel Bailey, Ariel Jones, Ashley Jones, Vanessa Esther, Josselyn Tabora, Jodi Radebaugh, Fred Taylor, Khir Henderson, and myself as their chaperone. However, this trip would not have been possible without the support of various parties. We are indebted to the China Unites States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) for giving us this scholarship to travel to China. All expenses in China were covered by the scholarship. We also thank the staff at the Division of International Affairs at MSU for advertising these scholarships, recruiting us, and planning the logistics of the trip. We would also like to thank our university president, Dr. David Wilson, for supporting study abroad and giving our program the publicity, which will help more Morgan students, spread their wings across the globe. We cannot forget Henry Fung and Irene Chen, our coordinators/guides in China who took care of us like royalty. They were very knowledgeable about China and everything went without a hitch because of their dedication and love for our group. Last, but not least, our heartfelt thanks to our parents, family, and friends who have given us their unconditional love and support. Ultimately, all of us were driven and motivated to study abroad. We knew that such opportunities were rare and we wanted to take full advantage of it so that we experience another culture, first-hand. As student ambassadors and future leaders, we proudly represented Morgan State University.