It’s been three weeks since I arrived in Slovakia. I have already been to Vienna and Berlin, and plan to visit Paris and Rome. However, a major problem I met is that I found I don’t have peers traveling with me. I am traveling alone for three weeks. I wonder how does this happen? I live in a student residence hall in a university in Bratislava. Each time I met people I tried to make eye contacts with them and tried to talk to them, but they didn’t seem to respond and are not willing to talk. Are they not welcome a foreigner’s visit? I am not sure. Maybe I should try making friends with other international students who work currently in Europe if I couldn’t make friends with native people. This is my next step.
During the trip in Europe, what surprises me is that there are more Chinese than I thought. Wherever I was in Vienna, Bratislava, and Berlin, I can see Chinese everywhere. They are either permanent resident living in the city or visitors who would spend the whole week in Europe. I know there are lots of Chinese or Chinese Americans in America, but I didn’t expect there are also Chinese in Europe. Besides, one change of perception about myself is related to the word “cultivated.” When I was in America, people always view Chinese as silent and not confident among different nationalities in the U.S. Those seem like bad traits on Chinese and I am always trying to get rid of them. But now in Europe, when I met several people and talk to them, their impression on Chinese is surprisingly positive – they view Chinese as cultivated and Americans as rude and uncultivated. This viewpoint sheds new lights on my understanding of these traits. The personalities that are embedded in our culture is not necessarily bad – it depends on what angle you treat them.
Despite the visit in Europe, my favorite experience is working in the office. The reason is that I met my great mentor, Juraj. Juraj is responsible for my job when Nora, the executive director in the office have been on vacation for two weeks. We soon develop the friendship though he is in his thirties. We work together, solving technical problems such as creating the database in Excel. We sometimes have lunch together as well. I am fond of hearing things about Slovakian and European people. He is interested in my experience in three different continents. Our conversation is enjoyable and educating.
Oh, I forgot to mention – my favorite food is fish and chips in Berlin.