What have we found in a foreign country?

Shortly after the terrorist attack in Brussels (March 22, 2016), I received a notice of admission to study abroad.

At that time, Europe was at the forefront of the refugee crisis. Even in Germany, which is known for its good law and order, there have been many vicious public security incidents, including news of the murder of Chinese students. Not to mention the concerns of my parents, I am afraid that I will actually retired.

This is the only time I have thought about giving up after I have been planning to study abroad for more than two years.

An opportunity
Among the 21 grams of soul, the one that is longing for the distance is the most stubborn. After two days of retreating, I continued to prepare for visas and air tickets with fear and expectation.

Studying abroad, in a sense, is very similar to marriage.

Most people study abroad, not the result of brainstorming, but to experience at least one year: understanding the national background, choosing a school, testing the language, preparing various materials, submitting applications, waiting for an interview. Just as love has already consumed too much energy, and when we step into the palace of marriage, people feel that everything is going well. The moment we finally brushed out the admission notice, it is also relieved, just waiting to buy a good ticket and dragging the bag full of foreign land. Breath the “sweet” capitalist air.

Grand Place, Brussels

“It will be fine if you get married.” That is the saying of a layman. People who come over will tell you that after the door, the real test has just begun. The same is true for studying abroad. At the moment when you set foot on a foreign land, the test has just begun.

Out of the greenhouse
To say that it is a test, in fact, is to learn everything by yourself. It is not difficult, and it is also the literacy that everyone should have when they are adults.

Only minors, especially minors/adult adults who have the opportunity to study abroad, are usually protected very well in the country, or they are too close to each other, so that you can’t really learn and practice everything. Yourself.

It’s really a matter of going abroad. Looking for a place to live, moving, eating and drinking, and riding a horse, you have to be personally involved. Little things that I have never thought of before, repairing water and electricity, broadband, and opening a telephone card are more difficult than in class in places where language is not available.

The official language of Brussels where I live is French and Dutch. Although the popularity of English is very high, it is generally sufficient, but it is still difficult to communicate with blue-collar workers such as plumbers and broadband workers who can only speak French. I once had a conversation with a Google translator who went to the door to install broadband. I also felt that the language barrier was a helpless and novel experience.

I spent a month to buy a variety of furniture and kitchenware, settled down, and could seal half a mover and half a cook. It is no wonder that when people returning to China are looking for a life partner, they will generally use “study abroad” as a sieve. Female and male chefs, if you go to the United States, plus the driver, “international students” is a label that is not going to go wrong.

In addition to self-reliance in basic life, “becoming oneself” has a deeper meaning in the journey of studying abroad. Studying abroad or living abroad, on the one hand, provides a social environment with a greater distance between people, so that you have enough space to become yourself; on the other hand, in a foreign country, in a heterogeneous environment, you It’s easier to look at yourself by exploring the unfamiliar culture around you.

Become yourself thousands of miles away
Let me talk about becoming myself.

The pressure of peers is reflected in the words that are particularly easy to hang in the country, such as “other children’s children”, “I have a colleague” and so on. The intimate social environment creates a relatively formatted template and a reference frame that is visible to the eye. There are too many “others” waiting for you to catch up and become, naturally it is easy to forget to be yourself. But in foreign countries, the most obvious point I realize is that I am relatively alienated or have a stronger sense of distance.

Living elsewhere, you can stand outside the box and look back at your place.

Adding a term to anything, the sense of experience and the degree of cherish can rise straight.

Students who study in the school have a clear time to coexist and a common topic, of course, can also enjoy a happy leisure time. But after the gathering, everyone will return to the state of the island at a very fast pace. The social sense of proportion will make you rarely mention all the issues related to privacy (including income, family, feelings, career) in communication.

The space and time of the blanks allow you to think about what “I” really wants and how to achieve it. During my study abroad, I live alone in the student apartment. If I don’t have time to go out to play on weekends, I stay in the room most of the time, or go to the nearby park to run.

On a Sunday of a house, I suddenly wanted to run a marathon in Europe. There was no reference frame and no comparison. After checking the time and destination, I chose Iceland. In August, I had only run 10 kilometers farthest, and I completed half a horse in Reykjavik. This is an incredible thing to hear, but when you don’t think about “what others are doing, how to think”, your voice will be louder.

Then look at yourself.

The sheep are always content with a group of sheep. Only when they reach a group of wolves can they suddenly realize that they are a sheep. Living elsewhere, you can stand outside the box and look back at your place. This is why studying abroad/immigration can quickly make a person patriotic, because it is easy to meet the moment when you will be proud of being Chinese.

In the classroom, we talked about climate warming. Everyone understands that we are in Europe. The EU is the most determined promoter and pioneer of global warming. But to this end, China’s behavior and status quo will definitely be the topic of concern and discussion. .

When friends gather, especially when meeting new foreign friends, after saying “from China”, it will definitely lead to a wave of discussions about China. Stereotypes, social touts, but always a chat machine that everyone is interested in. The kind of curiosity, respect or surprise that flashes in your eyes because you are from China is determined by your place of origin, no matter what kind of individual you are, you can’t change it.

Embrace the world between the feet
When you leave the country, you become a “foreigner.” The identity of the international students allowed me to have a real chat with a Belgian in the first two months of my first visit. I once joked with the locals: “I think in Brussels, the Belgians are the least.”

In this place, you will quickly forget the “distance”. We have more than 30 people from 14 different countries. Under the previous world view, I never imagined that I would lead a group of Ethiopians to eat “injera” (the main staple food of Ethiopians), drink homemade mulled wine in Luxembourg, and have a cup of fennel with the Greeks. liqueur. Of course, I also want to be a representative of China and popularize Chinese food to all corners of the country. Not to mention that Brussels is the capital of the European Union. When we visit the supranational institutions of the 28 member states of the European Parliament and the European Commission, all information is presented in 23 official languages. Here, you will soon forget the geographical gap, I believe that the earth is a village.

Another concept that will soon be forgotten is “ethnicity.”

I, a yellow-skinned “foreigner”, was asked more than once on the streets of Brussels. I didn’t understand it at first – can’t I see that I am a foreigner? How can I know how to go?

Later, when I started swimming in the community pool, I immediately understood. The children’s swimming class in the local community swimming pool vividly displays the word “national melting pot”. Yellow, white and black, children of various skins play in a pool and learn to swim together. Children who grow up in such an environment should dilute the concept of “ethnicity” and will not distinguish between “non-family” by skin color or language.

Here, “foreigners” have become a concept that is difficult to define. The most explicit method of division between the state and the nation has almost failed in a society of integration. We have to build a new identity with a common identity of super-national or super-ethnic and quickly integrate, and approach love and peace by removing the “tag”.

Another point may be related to studying abroad. If you come abroad for study purposes, most people will return to China after the end of their studies. Adding a term to anything, the sense of experience and the degree of cherish can rise straight.

I have never seen an international student who does not enjoy life on the head. If you are busy with your studies, we will also enjoy the water in every holiday and take a look at the weekend as soon as possible. Those places that are unusual for locals will also become destinations for international students.

People who have studied in Europe, the countries that have been to the country usually do not have a hand. From Belgium to the Netherlands, you can drive back and forth on the same day, from Brussels to Berlin, not even 200 yuan in the off-season. It’s more convenient to go abroad than to go to a province. It’s unreasonable to go for a walk.

The unknown distance is always far away, and the land that has been measured by the footsteps is the world that has been experienced.

Try the taste of pears
Studying abroad is wonderful, giving you an unscrupulous identity – not a visitor, not a migrant worker, but a social group with the most free and active thoughts and actions – students. Especially for Chinese students, the vast majority of study abroad experience in developed countries will make you completely immersed in a very different ideology, and you can freely learn information and participate in discussion.

International students are a better experience of the experience, less than one point is too small, more than one point is too much. Different from the travel of tourists, there are more real life traces in studying abroad, at least there is an opportunity to have real resonance with the local society. It’s not the same as immigration. Studying abroad has a curse that is “not as good as going back”, giving you a foreseeable end point, allowing you to cherish this time and opportunity more deeply.

But when you find out here, you are talking about studying abroad. There is no word in the whole article about school, professional courses or preparation experience. However, if you say this, will it become an intermediary for studying abroad?

Just as we recalled our college career, the first one that came to mind was a class or a paper, but the people and people around us were imprinted on our character and vision.

Whether it is to be yourself or to embrace the world, it sounds like a metaphysical school. Studying abroad is such a thing. I don’t necessarily believe that you can cure a disease. The taste of pears is always known to you.