Fabiana in China: Before Departure

Luckily, “studying abroad” has been a familiar phrase in my life.

Born in Bolivia, raised in both Bolivia and United States, finishing high school in Hong Kong and attending college at the University of Richmond somehow contributes to this perpetual “studying abroad” state. In a short period of time however, I’ll be able to add Beijing to this whirlwind – and add another study abroad experience on top of my study abroad. How incredibly lucky I am!

As an International Business and Chinese Studies double major I thought that going to the Chinese Studies Institute at Peking University would be a great opportunity. I would be finally getting over any insecurity I have with my Chinese language, and get to see China with more mature eyes. I decided to take the “immersion track” offered by the Institute, meaning that during my four months of study I will devote myself to Chinese language training full time. With 27 hours of in-class instruction per week, according to the program’s website, “it is a perfect opportunity for those who want to challenge themselves and test the limits of their courage, endurance and excitement.”

For those who know me, know that in face of challenge I like to recycle the quote “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” Oh yes. I am scared, but surely excited. I am aware that high achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.

So I shouldn’t be that scared right? I mean, I’ve lived in Hong Kong for two years and I sorta-kinda know Chinese, so why am I this scared? Could it be the language pledge I have to sign? Or arriving at the airport and being expected to be fluent in Chinese? I’ve heard horror stories about “immersion track” students barely talking to anyone during the first two weeks. I guess I’ll just have to experience it all by myself.

Luggage, saying good-bye, being fully independent again. It’s all coming back to me.

With five days left to my departure, all I want to do at this point is enjoy home, family and my boyfriend.

Days should go by quickly.


Ever since I started studying abroad I realized that I was gaining so much more than education, I was building myself with bits and pieces of everything I saw, touched and tasted. The friendships I’ve made, the places I have seen… they were all the result of my choices. We are our choices. I can’t wait to add more pins to this board.

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