Getting to go to such a prestigious school in Saltsburg is a wonderful opportunity. And being here for my fourth year, I've had countless opportunities that I can honestly say, I wouldn't have if I was back home in New York City. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity of a lifetime.
I have studied the Chinese language and culture for over five years so getting a chance to go to China, and play football, was just one thing I couldn't pass up. Starting with the 14-hour flight, leaving the country for the first time ever, was the first of many different things I experienced during my trip. From meeting new people to utilizing and testing my Chinese language, China has to be one of my favorite places I have ever been.
I was able to experience The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, and the Beijing Olympic Stadium. These were great experiences for me since I have only seen these places online or in pictures. Researching these places and learning the history of each since elementary school days, and now, to seeing them in person was a true once in a lifetime opportunity.
I was in China for eight days and the best part by far was being able to share the beautiful game of football. We were all different in so many ways from age, nationality, color, size, and language, but there was one thing that brought us together, and that was football. Going through the drills with little kids, having them play catch with us, and having smiles all around, was one thing I always wished to be a part of.
Overall, I think I represented my School, my country, and my family well. Being voted the team captain for the USA team and named offensive MVP after having three touchdowns and two-point conversions on offense. On defense, I had two interceptions that helped capture a 56-0 win over Shanghai's local football team.
I would definitely go back to China in a heartbeat. The teammates I had for a week, will remain my friends for a long time. I am more than grateful for this opportunity and I am so happy that I went. I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to travel and study abroad, to do it. I’m so thankful for my mom and all of my family for making this trip possible.