It's around 5pm and I am sitting in the office trying to organize the thoughts in my mind. All this things that I want to do and don't know if I have the time to do them. It's natural to have this kind of thoughts since I am leaving China in less than a month.. Which places I haven't visited yet, which preparations I should make, when I should start counting days to leave, I should send some things by mail, I should confirm my ticket. Too many thoughts about the finish line of my internship, but what about the time that i have passed here?
It was more than a year ago when I applied for an internship in China. Actually I didn't chose the internship. The internship chose me. When i was reviewing my potential future working environments I knew that i didn't have any luck applying for other positions. I was 35th in the row and the offers where just 10. So I had eyes only for China. A place so far away from the western civilization and for so long; 6 months seemed like a century compared to the 1-3 month duration of the other offers... These seemed to be the ''disadvantages'' of this internship and at the same time the reason that I had chances to get it.
I stood up for the chinese offer that was the only one left and some months later (after a delayed reply... and 35 minutes interview) I was packing for China. No one believed that i was actually going to do that. Not even me... I hadn't realized yet. This is a special way for me to take decisions. I never sa no to a challenge and when the time comes I face it... and in some way I always get throug it! I was in China at the airport, waiting for the delayed intern that was supposed to pick me up. I was staring all these Chinese passing by me, all these signs in Chinese and the feeling was so different. The apartment, new people, new faces, just coming back from work, tired with no mood for chit chat and small talk; the subway, people pushing one to an other squeezing trying to fit in the train; people spitting and this traffic jam, the constant beeping in my earsand the drivers that didn't pay attention to anyone... That was my first impression. I got lost the first day that I tried to go to work alone, so I found the chance to explore Shanghai under the rain. I was lost in a city of 25 million people, one of the biggest cities in the world and it seemed magic! No one I could speak to, and understand me, or have the confidence to speak english to me, and all of them rushing and speaking a language that I couldn't even recognize a word, only sounds.
Now I am sitting in my office thinking what a good time I had; my trip in Nanjing, my trip to Hangzhou, Hong Kong these water towns, but most of all the people that i met here. Shanghai is rapidly developing with people from all over the world; people that are fresh in a new environment and are trying to find their way; the perfect conditions to meet a new person! It was really out of my expectations to meet this combination of different personalities, trying to analyze the cultural differences and different reactions in the same situation. I came here determined to put up with everything new, everything strange, and try to compromise in every way. In my apartment, when i had 9 roommates, in my job when I heard unreasonable things, even my personal life when i faced their different - for me- behavior. I put up with the fact that i couldn't express myself as I wanted when I wanted, with the reallity that i couldn't have Xmas with my family and my friends, that i was in a country that didn't even celebrate Xmas and I will have to stay here during Easter too.
At last I decided that besides compromising I could get a step farther. Start influencing my environment. Show my own characteristics, I was glad to be the first to do ''free hugs'' in Shanghai, to do hitch hiking to Nanjing (400 km) and in general try to show a different way of thinking to the people surrounding me according my personality and character. I took a lot from this experience that i thought that wouldn't be included in the general term of ''knowing a different culture'' that i used and gave what I could.
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