Shelby McElvain ('10) | Teacher Education
Communication sciences and
disorders major from Oakley, California
"This was by and far one of the most amazing experiences of my life," says Shelby McElvain. "To be in a place that has so much history and was so far ahead of its time was simply breathtaking."
Q&A with Shelby
What was your favorite part of the experience?
It is impossible to pick just one as my favorite part. There were so many different pieces of the puzzle that contributed to the experience. The people were amazing, both the group that went as well as the people we encountered in China. As far as excursions, my personal favorite was the Great Wall of China. In the classroom, there were many "a-ha!" moments with the kids. Any of those could be a potential favorite because it is so rewarding to see a change in understanding with the kids.
What were the greatest adjustments to being in a different culture?
One of the hardest things to get used to was the complete lack of regard for personal space. Here in the states, we have a collective understanding of one's bubble. In China, there is no such thing. You better get used to being extremely close to other people!
What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I learned an immense amount of patience and understanding. I feel as though I previously have been impatient with people who didn't understand cultural expectations and norms. To be on the other side of that forced me to develop a new perspective.
What was the biggest surprise about the experience?
I was surprised at how much I loved China. I have always wanted to travel the world but never expected Asia to be one of my favorites. This trip completely changed that idea!
What's the funniest/most unusual thing that happened to you on the trip?
The most unusual thing was hands down, eating a scorpion!
What did you learn in China that will help you when you become a teacher?
I learned that each student is different. In many ways, there is no such thing as a rule. Each child is unique in his and her experiences and backgrounds.
What would you say to someone considering participating next year?
I would highly encourage anyone considering the China trip. It has impacted my life in so many positive ways. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
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