When the trip first began, I was ready to view the world in a different way. I was able to meet my homestay family with excitement and curiosity, the mind of someone who wanted to explore. Living with my homestay family, I had to try harder to communicate with them. It was not something easy that I would usually do at home. The language barrier was something that made the experience more important. With the first few days of the homestay, I had to use a lot of gestures and body language to help my host family understand me. It made me realize how much easier it was for me back at home because I didn’t have to do much for anyone to understand me. I really enjoyed seeing the change in relationships I had with my host family. We somewhat connected really well after the first few days of struggling to communicate, but it wasn’t just that experience that changed me, it was the whole Experiment itself.
I was able to empathize and put myself in a different perspective to understand how it must have been like with the language and culture barrier. Seeing things from a different view makes situations a lot easier to comprehend. Being able to understand someone and not make judgments or assumptions upon your own perspective was something that I figured was going to be helpful in the future.
The Experiment experience changed the way in which I perceived things. I’ve learned many things along the way. Looking down to the simplest of things, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have. At one point during the trip, I really missed the fresh air back at home. I also started missing the tap water as well because the tap water in China was unsafe to drink. I remember being in Beijing and thinking about how much I missed seeing a blue sky. It wasn’t something I would ever miss, but the thin layer of gray that’s always in Beijing due to the air pollution made me miss it badly.
It wasn’t so much as how the homestay experience has changed me, but how The Experiment has changed me. All in all, The Experiment has taught me many good things. I had many realizations about my own life and the life of others. I gained a better perspective and stronger will because of The Experiment. To be able to realize that I should really appreciate what I have means that I have learned one of the many important lessons in life. And it was not only about learning new things by perspective, but also about learning about myself. I believe The Experiment has helped me gain new knowledge to further myself in life. To experience through The Experiment has never made me so happy and grateful for the things in life.