Miranda McDowell
Major: Health Education: Community
Education and Health Across China
Summer I, 2017

It’s hard to believe I am leaving for China in two short days! It feels like the time has flown by in preparation for the trip and I know the time will fly by even faster while I am there.

My name is Miranda McDowell and I just finished my 3rd year at Western Michigan University. I am majoring in Community Health Education with a minor in Psychology, and  I’m the secretary of the National Health Honorary Eta Sigma Gamma-Gamma Mu chapter at WMU. I always say I am thankful for my major because of the people I have gotten to work and study with, and because of the opportunities it has given me like traveling the world. In the past year, I have studied abroad in South Africa, gone to conferences in Washington DC, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Denver, Colorado, and now I am going to study abroad in China!

Wild elephant in South Africa.

Since I have been fortunate enough to study abroad in South Africa, I am finding myself comparing a lot of that trip to this trip to China, which is hard not to do. This time around I realize that I’m not as nervous about getting ready to leave because I now know how to navigate through an airport, how/where to ask for help, and how/what to pack to take with me. I think after someone travels a few times to different cities and countries they start to know what to expect and how to make traveling go more smoothly.

China has always been on my list of places to travel to, so when I heard about the chance to study there for two weeks I jumped on it! I think I am most excited to be able to experience a different culture and to learn some of their customs. I will be there with seven other WMU students and our professor, Dr. Liu. Dr. Liu has been very helpful in the process of getting ready for this trip and I am so thankful for that. He is actually from China, which is great because he will be able to help with the language barrier between those of us who do not speak Chinese and the locals where we will be staying.

My mom and I

One thing I am nervous about is the bathrooms in China. I have heard that the public bathrooms there are basically porcelain holes in the ground, and you squat to use them. I guess I am happy that I heard about the bathrooms before I got there because I could only imagine my surprise seeing them when I got there and did not hear about them first! Other than that, I honestly do not think I am very nervous about anything else about the trip. The plane ride will be about 13 hours long, but it won’t be that bad as long as I am able to get some sleep and watch some movies along the ride.

My brother Jake and I

I will miss my mom and my brother while I am gone because I am very close to both of them. I know they are excited for me to go on this trip, but also very nervous because it is so far away. Luckily this trip is only 2 weeks long, so it will be about how long I go without seeing them when I am away at school at WMU. I cannot wait to be able to come home with stories and treasures that I find while I am there and to be able to share them with my family and friends.



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