“Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many people pass one way, a road is made.” -- 鲁迅《故乡》
-- Lu Xun, My Old Home
“History says, Don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.”
-- Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and writer, The Cure at Troy
“History is moving, and it will tend toward hope, or tend toward tragedy.” -- George W. Bush, U.S. President, 2000 – 2008
In today’s global society, cultural misunderstandings and ignorance cannot be tolerated. For so long, the world has revolved around the West, catering to its culture and way of life, but this is now beginning to change. It is very possible that with China’s rise we are experiencing a turning point aptly summarized by a Chinese saying: 三十年河东三十年河西. China, indeed, will play a leading role in shaping the future of our global society. As such, it is imperative that more westerners, particularly Americans, learn about one of the Earth’s greatest ancient and modern civilizations. Upon graduating from the University of Florida Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature and a minor in History, I endeavored to travel the world and learn about other cultures and their histories. In doing so, I have planned to one day return to America and teach others about these cultures. Hopefully, by learning about how other people live, their languages and customs, we can avoid cultural misunderstandings which could lead to conflict. I began my journey abroad immediately after graduating from university in 2005. I first traveled to Barcelona, Spain, where I studied an intensive 120-hour TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification course. Upon completing the course, I moved to Prague, Czech Republic, where I taught...