In truth, I think that one of the most important steps that one can take before visiting a new country would be to take the time to properly learn the language. Now, be that as it is, learning a language is never as simple as just looking up at the sky and saying “give me the knowledge!”. In truth (as I am now rediscovering) languages take a lot of extra effort to practice. I find it interesting how we can almost look back on what we have previously learned about English and how the language works, and see it as one of the easiest things that we had done. In truth, it took us years of constant practice and everyday use to finally get used to hearing and speaking the language, and then another few years of schoolwork and lessons to have a firm grasp on all of its different components. Now, as I am *attempting* learn Mandarin (so that I will be able to speak it to an extent when I arrive) I am re-learning just how hard it was to fully grasp the concept of speaking a language. Luckily, there are programs such as Rosetta Stone or Duolingo which I have been using, but sometimes it’s not the same experience as physically being there and having it spoken around you. For now, all that I can hope to do is to stay persistent in my efforts and to keep on learning.