Walking down the narrow road of a small village in China, I felt the rough dirt scratch against my new sneakers. I watched as a little girl with smiles and black matted hair and ripped clothes ran along barefoot. I witnessed children in a small school house practicing their English with barely enough chalk to last them a couple of hours, but very eager to learn. I saw a mother of 5 with barely enough money to buy a jug of milk, make a meal that could last her family the whole day. Every day I stayed in China, I remembered the times I complained because my mom bought the wrong brand of sandwich meat, or bought me the wrong pair of shoes. I realized how blind I had been to life itself and how ungrateful I had been at times to life’s opportunities. I derived three lifelong lessons while in China: making the most out of life, being thankful, and persevering through obstacles.
What intrigued me the most in China was how everyone worked together for the greater good of the country. It didn’t matter that one was a farmer and his brother was a businessman, no job was more important than the other. One set out to be the best farmer or businessman that he could be. Just like the students in the small village or the mother scrounging for scraps of food. On my trip I was able to talk to many Chinese students and I found out that many of them wanted to visit America. They were in awe that so many different cultures exist in one country. I see the importance of being thankful for living in a world where we constantly learn how to embrace each other’s differences and similarities. In China, people live for pride and honor. They helped others out of sacrifice not abundance. It is a wide-known fact that students in China work hard in school. Due to the fact that they have such a big population, education beyond secondary level is very limited. Only about 2% of the Chinese students get accepted to colleges. The students stay focus and don’t let anything stop them.
Being in China opened my eyes to a new life. It gave me a better perception of the world and helped me become aware of what I needed to focus on in life. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Every day we are faced with controversy and trials. That is why I always make the most out of life, continue to be thankful, and persevere through obstacles.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.