I was a shy kid growing up. I never did anything that would force me out of my comfort zone. I would surround myself with my best friends. So, when I saw the MEI Fall semester online I knew I needed to apply. I needed to do something for myself. I needed to do something that would change my life. The MEI Fall Semester was incredible. There are no words to describe how amazing this experience was but I’m going to try to explain it in a few paragraphs.
First you step into a room with a bunch of people you’ve never met before in your life. Immediately you feel comfortable around them, because these will be the people you spend your next three months with. You switch roommates every location so it’s impossible not to get close with everyone on the trip. As cliché as it sounds these people will become your family. I shared so many secrets that I have never admitted to anyone in my life.
From climbing the Great Wall of China to Hiking in the Blue Mountains every experience pairs with an amazing scenic view. We walked through night markets in Beijing and Hong Kong and explored the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City. There is not one memory that I can say was better than the rest because each day was a rollercoaster of events. In Australia we would wake up early in the morning to do an hour workout. It would drain us all of our energy, but we would rejuvenate in our beautiful three-bedroom apartments treating ourselves to homemade breakfast and showers. Next, we would have a lesson normally at a luscious green park and write in our morning notes about experiences, memories, and writing prompts provided. Afterwards we would have free time to explore the streets of the location we were in. Normally stopping in coffee shops to have our lunchtime latte while getting some work done. Later on, we would reconnect with everyone for a sport tournament or an activity. Everyday ran like this in Australia and Bali, and even though Asia was a bit more chaotic it ran the same way as well.
We developed such a common routine on the trip and got so used to the physical activity we had to partake in each day. Now that I’m back at home I miss the vigorous workouts. Even the academics were a challenge but so rewarding with every assignment we completed. We were required to present in front of the class to develop our public speaking skills, like our climate change debate in Mui Ne. Each of our presentations and book chats allowed everyone to have an equal voice. After every essay I wrote or short story I presented it felt gratifying. I knew all of my assignments broadcasted the best of my abilities and they helped me improve my communication skills.
If I can tell you anything that will convince you to come on the trip, is just know these people you meet: will be your friends for the rest of your life. As I am back to the real world, we are already planning reunions to see each other again. This trip is meant for you if you have a will and wanderlust. Everyone on this trip loved to travel, and we cherished each experience so much. The academics and physical activity may be challenging, but you can get through it and achieve your personal goals. Before I went on this trip I was lazy, I would watch TV when I woke up and watch it when I got back from school. After being on an incredible journey I don’t even think of wasting my time staring at a screen, I now am much more productive and have an even greater will to achieve everything I set my mind to.