I wanted to immerse myself within a culture I held close to my heart, yet at the same time I wanted my time abroad to be an investment for my future. CAPA includes an international internship (I highly recommend) which provided invaluable lessons both professionally and personally. The experiences I gained as an English Teaching intern have served as my foundation in my current pursuit of teaching English in Asia.
Beijing has it's rough edges but these can serve as growth provoking opportunities if you open your mind to them from buying groceries at the local WuMei, to being in a real life version of Frogger each time you cross the street, to confronting the excitement and frustration of the language barrier. There are times when sanitation does not appear to exist, a sense of humor is encouraged. The locals are quite friendly, even more so if you display an interest in learning the language. If your thinking about talking to the locals, do it. I will argue that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of living abroad. Once you get over making a fool out of yourself it's a ton of fun.
CAPA offers weekly trips through it's "My Education" which exposed me to much more than I would have ever planned on my own. Some highlights were the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, and a weekend trip to Shanghai. We would always have native students accompany us who were very friendly and provided perspective into their culture. There is also flexibility and encouragement to create your own adventures. My favorite adventure was hiking with a group of friends to the top of Tai Shan to watch the sunrise. Afterward we stopped over at Qu Fu, the birth town of Confucius.
I recommend to stay in touch with the people you meet, as your friends and family will only be able to take so much of your stories. Make the most of your time abroad! This will be the most valuable decision you will make in college. Take it all in 须品味百味人生 (all the flavors of life must be tasted).