For two years in high school, and then for a year in college, I have studied Mandarin Chinese. I love how the language works, and writing out all the characters. It is therapeutic. Then again, learning languages has always been therapeutic to me.
I grew up speaking Spanish, Italian, and English. I still speak Spanish and English, but can only understand Italian at this point. So, a few years back, I thought learning Chinese would be awesome. It isn’t Latin-based, its totally different from what I am used to, and Eastern cultures are pretty fascinating. But today, I dropped Chinese. No, I’m not going back to it next semester. Yes, I disappointed a few people with my decision. It happens, I suppose.
See, the thing with Chinese is that the language itself is fascinating. It really, truly is. But… I don’t want to live in China. Or at least, I don’t plan to study abroad there. I like using my travel experiences to learn, and this time, my goal is specific: I want to focus on service-learning and social justice.
China, in some ways, is very advanced. It has an impressive and extensive history. But the government that is active these days does not quite make me feel safe. And any program to study there lacks a community service component. If I were to voice my ideas in China, I might get into trouble. It seemed like a limiting place to study.
I want to go places to meet people, learn a different way of living, find new perspectives. China feels limiting; South America or Africa seem boundless. Maybe it is just my perception, or maybe I’m really beginning to hone my academic and nonacademic focuses. I know, in my gut, that China isn’t where I need to be in the next few years.
So, with that said, I’ll stick to my gut.
P.S. Also, learning some conversational Turkish with my Turkish friend. Let’s see where I’m at by December!