After having lived in China for nearly a year, I wish I could have known what I know now. Yet, I realize that no amount of research or preparation could have possibly prepared me for the obstacles I would face during my year in China. I had to struggle to learn how to cope with said obstacles when abroad. Looking back, I am deeply thankful. All of these experiences, adventures and misadventures have culminated in an amazing time. The formula for an incredible year abroad is no secret: it’s all a matter of perspective and seeing struggle as a way to grow. Approach this journey with an open mind and the ability to stand resolute against obstacles and adversity. You will emerge all the more wise and will create memories to last a lifetime.
Culture shock: for me, it’s a theme all too common in my experience abroad. Having lived in the Americas, Europe and now Asia, there’s been plenty of adjustment to undertake. Adjustment to life from one continent to another, I supposed that culture shock was to be expected. Moving from South Korea to China? I didn’t expect to experience any culture shock, but I was mistaken.
As with most other world cultures and countries around the world, China has various unique national holidays which exemplify the values of family, tradition and national pride. These holidays span the history of China’s development and are strong indicators of the importance of cultural tradition in the midst of modern society. Every season brings a new holiday and reason to celebrate. Whether one is setting off fireworks to commemorate success, exchanging red envelopes or cleaning ancestral tombs, there is a sense of community of unity and a shared culture of collectivity.
It is no secret that Suzhou is a city of intrigue and culinary delights. Yet, a lesser known fact is that there is also an assortment of beverages which serve as a hallmark of this renowned metropolis. Today, I will take you on a drink tour of Suzhou, China and hope to expose some of Suzhou’s most infamous and beloved libations. These drinks span the history and development of Suzhou and represent cultural traditions and strength of community: two tenets of local culture which live on in the modern day.