Through the months of January and February, we have our CNY (Chinese New Year) break which consists of a glorious 6-week holiday. This is our only big holiday so we deserve it after a hard, long and quite painful first semester. This is the time where us international students either choose to go travelling or take a trip back to our home countries. It is also when the first semester has ended so some people will be leaving and replaced by new arrivals.
Over the whole of summer the possibility of coming back home half way through the year was very high. However, my though of this has changed since being in China and there are many reasons for this.
More time to travel.
The Chinese New Year break is known for international students to go travelling and this is one thing which is a must-do on my list purely because I am in Asia so it'd be silly not to and I adore travelling. I have already started planning my routes that I want to do and I am so keen to get going now. 6 weeks of holiday may sound a lot but travelling takes time, especially with the amount of countries I am hoping to explore.
Part of the Year Abroad experience.
I think a year abroad is supposed to be spent ABROAD FOR A YEAR, literally as it is put. It is part of the package and a learning curve to see how well you cope on your own in a whole other country and culture. Not sure my family were too happy to hear this from me, as it was nearly confirmed that would be coming back during this break, but this was said before I got to China and had some time to think about the whole concept.
Living without family.
Although it can get incredibly hard and to the point where you would probably book the next flight home, I think it is important to have that period where you experience living alone without your family being a city or a few hours drive away. Luckily, I am yet to get homesick as I have constantly kept myself busy. I'm sure it will happen a few times throughout the year but I am expecting it to (especially as I am already starting to miss my room, here it just doesn't compare). My family are very close so it is always hard when one of us is leaving for university, work, or travelling, but we all know that it is for the good as to why we are doing these things and how it will teach us the valuable lessons in life independently. Lets face it, I am nearly 21 years old and I will be starting a career after university so the important of independence has to be taught at some point, sooner rather than later, I think.
Part of the whole 'growing up' phase.
Linking in with the above explanation, the university period is the part where you learn to live with and by yourself. It is the section in your life where you will start to mature and become more independent. Having a year abroad, especially, is another level of how to look after yourself. A different culture, different people, different country...it's a whole lotta different! Adapting yourself into another culture can take time so going back home half way through may disrupt that experience.
I think I will look back at this year and look at the positives as to why it was a good idea to stay abroad for the whole year. It is only October so got a good 9 months left here but they always say 'time flies by when you're having fun'...I really hope it doesn't go by too fast!