Emma Urbaska


JE 2014

10th Grade – Leland and Gray

Emma UrbaskaReflecting on the last month of my life is something that I’m sure I’ll never fully do. It’s not that I’m not able to do so, it’s merely something that constantly has be changing my mind on how I feel about the experience. I have been Back in America for less than a week and already the experiences that I loved having in China I now hate thinking about, and the experiences I had a hard time dealing with then, I’m now grateful for. That’s the thing about this trip, it changes you.

For me, it changed the way I see myself, the way I see my friends and family, and the way I see the rest of the world. Yes, one spend a month in China and visit the Great Wall and eat with chopsticks and use squatters, but saying that that person had a similar experience to our own would be a complete lie. I feel as though I was able to see China through a peasants eyes, a students eyes, and an upper-class business man’s eyes as well as my own, which is something that takes a deep cultural immersion to occur. Our group definitely had that.

I believe that I’ve changed and grown so much as an individual because of this trip and have been able to open my eyes to a whole new way of the world. Journey East has inspired me to be more independent and more free. I find that I don’t worry about the little things as much as I used to, prior to our month in China.

Before we left on our journey, many people told me of the great ties they had with their friends on the trip and how close everyone became, yet no one mentioned how close they became with themselves. Of course, becoming close with your group is a very important part of the journey, but being with the same group of people for a long amount of time will naturally bring anyone together. Self realization, on the other hand, doesn’t always happen so easily. Luckily, I’m able to say that I experienced this.

The culture and passion I found in China ignited the passion in my own self to do what I love and accomplish what I’m able of accomplishing. It wasn’t the big cities or the famous monuments or anything of that nature that was the turning point of my trip, it was the every day way of life in china, the beggars on the streets, the crowds, the traffic, the people. These things made me realize my own way of life and my many possibilities for a future I choose. I am so grateful for my time in China, there are no words just right for explaining the many emotions I have for such a wonderful experience. The memories that I made and the memories that our group made together are ones that I will always keep in a special place in my heart.