It took me a long time to realize what a stroke of luck it was to be placed in Nanjing. Being placed with 13 other AYCers,  in a large city, with sizable expat population, was key. The strong community I formed here helped me celebrate the good times and weather the bad. That’s not to say there weren’t moments of homesickness and depression, but half price burgers and drinks cures a lot of ills. I came to China to experience something different and for me, different has been the operative word during my time here. Some differences are really cool, all fireworks are cheap and legal, others are more troublesome, your passport is required to book train tickets, but nothing works quite like you think it should. I encourage those who are looking for some excitement to give China a try. I don’t think China is part my professional future but I do speak mandarin better than my friends back home. Your time in China will be hard, but I think the experience is worth the difficulty. How many other chances will you have to drop everything and live halfway across the world for 9 months?

- Andrew Paulson, Nanjing