Anna Coffey '11
I spent six months in China, four of which were spent in Shanghai, while the remaining two saw me tutoring in a small town and traveling. This was not my first time studying abroad, so I was familiar with (and somewhat sick of hearing about) the “studying abroad changed my life” story. But in my first 24 hours in China, I knew that the common storyline was not done with me yet. Sleep-deprived, aurally exhausted and generally bewildered, I sat down at a dinner table with a family that had invited me out to eat to welcome me to China. The waiters produced a feast, covering the entire table with dishes, which they eventually had to stack up. Ever the gracious host, I was offered beer in a bowl—naturally, since I was underage in the U.S., I accepted the offer. My first legal drink! This perhaps was an unintelligent choice, since I was unfamiliar with the custom of toasting in this region. So there I was, tipsy, exhausted, and being presented with roasted frog. No, there was no way I was going to make it through the next six months without some new self-discoveries.