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Journals from NUR 398 Health Care in China

2008-02-15 Relecting Back on My Experience in China

Describing an experience like China is hard to put into words. My friends and family ask me, How was China? Tell me about China and when I try to answer I realize how hard it is to describe what I saw, what I did and I dont know where to begin. There was not one experience that changed my view of China and ultimately my view of the whole world, but rather a combination of the entire experience. From the moment I couldnt believe I was stepping off the plane in Beijing to the moment I couldnt believe I was stepping on a plane again to leave China, already, every step I took built an everlasting experience. When talking about China I feel I cant leave out Rachel, our national tour guide. I never thought I would come into China and leave with such a heavy heart. I never knew I would shed a tear in China nor feel some sort of attachment. I feel that Rachel has unknowingly served as a physical manifestation of China. She represents what is good, what is pure and what is honest about China. She was so willing to teach us, show us and invite us into her country. She was also willing to learn from us. I remember when we were talking about flight attendants and how she learned about discrimination. She was so surprised that where we came from it was illegal to fire someone based on age. This is the innocence of the Chinese people--granted, not every person is as innocent as Rachel, but because of the life they grew up living some are still sheltered from the outside world. I am still taken aback by the fact that we were stared at because the natives had never seen people unlike themselves before. It blows my mind that a majority of the Chinese people have not been exposed to the diversity most of us, in the United States, grew up seeing. Again, not everyone is this way, for example the nursing student who spoke her mind in front of everyone about patients' rights as well as commenting on Ericas earrings. This was not unusual to hear, but once Dr. Tong put it into perspective, I was shocked at her forwardness. Seeing the different hospitals and being able to talk to the different health professions was an opportunity that surpassed the other experiences during the trip. No way would normal visitors have the opportunity to sit down with doctors and nurses and pick their brains for an hour. We were given a chance that very few others will have. It was at these visits that I knew I wanted more. I have been inspired to learn at least two more languages. I want to speak Spanish again, and take on Mandarin. I felt a sense of embarrassment when I went into another country and just expected them to speak my language. I so badly wanted to converse with the health care professionals as well as the locals with no middleman, with nothing lost in translation. The TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] doctor at the TCM museum in Hangzhou said it best when he said, TCM is just another way of looking at the body. The idea that taking the best from each form of health care is something we could learn in the United States. I feel that we were so welcomed by the entire country that we could spread some of that love back in the US. Taking something as simple as combining two methods of care and using the best parts of each for a particular individual is by far best practice. This best practice should be available everywhere in every aspect of life. Our lives should be lived by doing whatever it is that is best for us, using everything in the world to shape and make our lives better. I am not saying take everything you can, but I am saying take as much as the world can offer you. Dont reject something because it is foreign to you, dont say no because it is not what you grew up with. Take everything that the entire world can offer to you. Every place we go and everything we see shapes our life, makes us stronger, wiser and more complete. I feel that I can take from this experience a lesson it can take people a lifetime to learn: together we can make it better. We all have different views and opinions on life, but we are all living it, together, we are on this earth together. We are not so much different than our neighbors, than people we pass on the street and even those we never meet. Human beings are born from the same flesh but time has separated us and we're raised to see people differently. We have been raised to see color, race, gender, to see anything that makes us different from one another. Visiting China has given me the opportunity to see that we are all the same. We may grow up differently and have different views, but we are all humans and are living on this earth together and the sooner we realize that coming together will benefit everyone, the sooner we will be living on a more peaceful earth. Jennifer Corak

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