My name is Laura Silver, but I'm presently answering to anything from ” Laur”? (pretty close) to ” Little Song,”? (or ” å°?å®‹). I'm 23 and living in rural Sichuan, China to work at a microfinance bank. I decided to pack up and move to the middle of nowhere to get a good sense for how microfinance organizations operate on the ground, to improve my Chinese, and generally to find out what rural life was like in China.
I only have a few more months left here, as well as some traveling in other parts of China, but I want to share some of the stories from my experience, as well as some tips about living and working abroad in China, especially if you are going to be six hours from any sort of Western or expat comforts.
Prior to moving to China I worked in Washington, DC for a year, and before that was a student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. I had an interdisciplinary major and also studied international relations, taking four years of Mandarin as well. Turns out that those four years meant almost nothing when I got to a restaurant in China and could barely order food for myself, but five months in China have done a lot to fix that, thankfully.
I come by my love of travel honestly, as my parents would say, having started international travels at age eight when my parents took me to Southeast Asia. I'm also the daughter of an art historian so I have been to (dragged to?) more than my share of temples, mosques, pagodas, churches, art museums, etc. around the world. I even set myself a goal when I was in elementary school to always have been to more countries than I am years old. I'm more than making good on that pledge to this day.
Not long after I return to the States, I'm going to be packing up again to go on Semester at Sea, a floating university program that will be touring the Mediterranean this summer. I'll try and chronicle some of the best (and worst) of the seven ports we visit this summer.
I've really enjoyed blogging (minus the proxy hassles… China! Unblog blogspot!) for the last few months and am excited to share some of my reflections and commentary with this wider audience. Feel free to drop me a line– I welcome feedback, suggestions, and more.
Laura is currently working at a microfinance bank in rural Sichuan, China. She'll be traveling around China this spring and then sailing on Semester at Sea around the Mediterranean this summer. Not surprisingly, she studied international relations in college, graduating from Wesleyan University in 2008. As a self-proclaimed “Cheapion,” or champion of cheap, all of these travels will be done on a tight budget.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Friday 29th of October 2010
Although I would've preferred if you went into a little bit more detail, I still got the gist of what you meant. I agree with it. It might not be a popular idea, but it makes sense. Will definitely come back for more of this. Great work
Thursday 14th of January 2010
Where in Sichuan are you located? I'm in Chengdu!
Tuesday 12th of January 2010
Laura- Look forward to reading more of your posts and can't wait to hear about the little things in China that get over looked so much. Welcome to the team at gobackpacking.com!
Sunday 10th of January 2010
Sichuan is a big province. I know there was a lot of damage and loss of life, but to say it is in ruins sounds a bit much?
Sunday 10th of January 2010
Welcome to the team Laura, I'm really looking forward to hearing about rural life in China.