Summer Experience in Beijing

Last semester back at UNC, when someone mentioned the word China, I lit up with excitement knowing that I would spend my summer there.  I lit up with anticipation knowing that I was preparing to for the experience of a lifetime. I could not have been more right!

Honestly, words could only begin to skim the surface in describing my experiences thus far here in Beijing. Words can only capture a faint picture of how I have been enriched, blessed, challenged and changed by this experience. Every morning, I wake up with a sense of eagerness as I start the day—it is for good reason, because every day here is a new adventure, a new cultural experience, a new lesson learned, about anything from entrepreneurship to social awareness. From discussing the uniquely different histories and cultures of America and China to sharing life together through playing ping pong, my Chinese roommate and I learn from each other every day; and at the end of the night before we cut the light off and head to sleep, I know we both realize that we are more similar than we think: we are two college guys searching for significance and meaning in life while working our hardest to balance the many blessings and challenges of life.

Commuting to work for a total of three hours every day adds a whole new dimension to life. Though obvious physical characteristics of my skin color and height set me apart from the Chinese people on the subway with me, I somehow feel at home here, as if I belong, and what an incredible feeling that is.  As an intern at EASTWEST Public Relations, I am thrilled to see entrepreneurship and innovation in action every day. It is as if the king of innovation, Peter Drucker, is in the office with us, as I see the owner of the company encourage all of us to spot opportunities and figure out how to do things in a way no one has ever done before.  Whether it be through eating lunch with Jim, the owner, or through the various projects I am working on that are actually making a difference in the direction and future of the company, I am blessed, honored, thrilled, and humbled to take part in this experience.  As I look ahead to the rest of this challenging and enlightening journey in front of me, I want to seize every moment, for in the big picture, I am only here for a short time. I want to live in and embrace the reality that there are so many opportunities to broaden my horizons and perspectives while here. And I want to be ever-mindful of the fact that I am incredibly blessed to be here, and I want the way I live every moment of every day to be in response to that!