The 8 weeks are up on my summer in Beijing and I could not have asked for a better experience. I met amazing people and discovered a new interest in public health that I did not have before.
I have always been passionate about sustainability but I was able to see first-hand how deeply the environment can impact peoples health. It is one thing to have a cough or develop asthma from the pollution in the air, but people are actually developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing in the pollution for prolonged periods. This is something that none of the northwestern students are familiar with and it is not because we are more sustainable either. We are still much more wasteful when it comes to water and energy use but yet we do not have any of these issues. This made me realize what a large effect people all the way across the world can have from living their day to day lives as carelessly and ignorantly as we tend to do.
This trip has also taught me to be more open-minded to things that I’m not familiar with. Sometimes different can be scary but it can also be a game changer. If I hadn’t tried every food that I came across while abroad then I would not have 10 new favorites dishes. If I hadn’t opened myself up to the idea of traditional Chinese medicine, I would never know of all the wonders it can do for your over health. And most importantly, if I had not decided to go to China even though I didn’t speak the language or know much about it, then I would never have have a life changing summer.
10/10 would recommend to a friend.