Homesickness didn’t hit me in the first week of being here. It hit when I realized how different I was from everyone else.
Anywhere that you go outside of your country, you will always be seen a foreigner.By that I mean you will always stand out, no matter how hard you try to fit in. You can speak the language, dress like them, and do everything else, but you will always be a foreigner. Being a Black foreigner just makes it ten times harder, especially in a mainly homogeneous country such as China.
I came to China knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. It doesn’t matter that I am at a British school in China, you can still probably fit all of the Black people here in one room. I knew what I was getting myself into before I came here. I knew that I would stick out like a sore thumb. But when you’re missing friends and family who would understand it’s just a little bit harder to cope with. I don’t mind the stares and I don’t mind the pictures, but I am not of fan of being laughed at and being the butt of some joke that I am not in on. These last two weeks I was really bummed about it, but after doing some reflecting I realized something.
It gets better. Sometimes such a big country can make you feel so small, but you are never alone. I’m surrounded by many good people who have made my experience so enjoyable that those small moments when I feel insecure or different become insignificant. Honestly I’ve faced worse discrimination in my own country than I have here. I never feel out of place when I am with my friends and they have never excluded me just because I am a foreigner. My lack of Mandarin skills has never stopped us from getting closer and even though our cultures differ, we still can find happiness in the same things. Putting yourself out there may seem frightening, but you will only enjoy being abroad if you’re not afraid to meet people, go places, and try things you would have never imagined.
I’m trying as hard as I can. I’m studying more, I’m going out more, I’m traveling more and it’s producing good results. So far, I like what I’m seeing.