Operation: 北京 Episode 1: Pre-departure

Over the last few months, I have spent many hours preparing for the biggest adventure of my life to date: studying abroad in Beijing, China for the fall semester of 2014.  Now, just a day and a few hours before I set out on this adventure, I have time to reflect on everything that has flown through my mind these last few months.  

The steps taken to prepare accordingly for this trip have been numerous.  Besides the obvious, such as a passport and visa, going to Beijing brought a few surprise challenges. Firstly, maneuvering around China’s internet censorship became a priority.  I had to purchase a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, that allows me to  access websites that are typically blocked in China.  The relatively small $100 fee will be well worth the ability to check my email accounts as well as keep in touch with friends and family back home.  

Another obstacle in the planning aspect was the amount of medicine I needed to bring to be safe.  Because China does not use western medicine practices as extensively as other countries, I had to do some research to determine which medications I should bring.  Most are simple over-the-counter medications, like NyQuil and ibuprofen.   While inexpensive, bringing a decent supply of these medications filled a significant amount of my luggage.  It’s much better to be safe than sorry in the long run while abroad.  

As I prep for this once n a lifetime adventure, I keep my mind open to what Beijing has to offer me, and I am ready to dive into the culture. 

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