Emily: Go Big or Go Home
My name is Emily Ashkin. I’m 16 years old, and I live in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Where to begin? I’ve never had a blog before, so please bear with me.
I’m almost all packed and ready to leave for… China! It still doesn’t feel real. I’ve never left the country, and now, I’m about to go to the complete opposite side of the world! But hey, for the first time, it’s go big or go home, right?
I’ve competed in other science competitions all over the United States, but nothing compares to this. I keep getting flashbacks to the moment I first found out I was selected as one of the four students to go to the Beijing Youth Science Creation Challenge. I remember continuously checking my email to see if the results came out, and when they did, I burst into tears–a dream come true!
Now, 109 days later (yes, I have been counting down), I don’t know what to expect! Many of my friends who have been to China have told me all sorts of things to plan for. From mosquitoes to the absence of toilet paper to unique foods, I know that we are in for quite an adventure. One of my friends even made me a Chinese cheat sheet to hopefully help me communicate with students there. I’ve learned phrases like “Hello,” “How much does this cost?” and what I think is the most important and humorous, “I don’t understand what you’re saying because I am American and only speak English.”
While many people would complain about the 16 hour plane ride we have ahead of us, I’m actually really excited (hopefully I don’t regret saying this)! I’ve been communicating with the three other students, Maggie, Alec, and Anne, for the past few months now. They are probably three of the most genuine and intelligent students I have ever met! We made our very own North Carolina International Science Challenge Facebook group and have been communicating. It may seem really weird to be going to the other side of the country with a bunch of strangers, but I feel like we will always have a special connection through this trip.
So, if you can’t tell already, I am beyond excited! Let’s see what this new adventure brings! 😀