Who did I travel with?
All intended graduates of my class were offered the externship. Out of about one hundred students, eight decided to go. My expected roommate dropped out last minute. I was disappointed. The up side was that I roomed by myself, and had plenty of privacy for the two week trip, in addition to the great company of the other students. Five of the students who I traveled with spoke English and Mandarin, and at least three that I know of were born and raised in China for some time. The other student, who became my travel buddy, and I, did not speak any Mandarin. Speaking the language of the country seemed to put the other students more at ease, less guarded, and happier. Without knowing the language I was initially uncomfortable. I did not know how other people would respond to me with such an obvious handicap.
As the time went on,
I relaxed and appreciated the support I received from the Mandarin speaking students and the Chinese people as whole. Everyone was generally helpful and understanding. The experience of not speaking the language allowed me to reflect on the possible unease of my future patients without any acupuncture experience. They would not be able to speak the language of acupuncture that I was familiar with. They may feel uncomfortable and unable to relax at first. I keep a short distance between this experience and my first time acupuncture patients today in order to create the best rapport possible.