When I received an email notifying me of a travel grant to study acupuncture in China, I felt like I came full cycle, because the acupuncture program was held in my alma mater, where I spent 5 years as an undergraduate student.
It seems like only yesterday I was a student volunteer picking up foreign veterinary students at the airport for the acupuncture program. I admired them so much because they were passionate enough to get on a plane and fly across half the earth to study a type of medicine that completely differs from western medicine. I also wondered how those speakers explain the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine and how foreign learners memorize the names of hundreds of acupuncture points and herbal medicine.
Earlier this summer, I followed those veterinary students’ path and did exactly what they did – got on a plane and, after a 14-hour flight, arrived at Guangzhou, where I had spent years studying and living. It was a special feeling that was slightly different from just being excited. Half of the goal of this trip was to study acupuncture, and the other half was to embrace the city where I’ve left so many footprints.
The class schedule was fairly intense. We started at 7:30 am and finished at 6:00 pm. The funniest part was that we started every morning by doing Tai Chi. It really helped us stretch our bodies, keep our mind peaceful, appreciate the surroundings, and maintain a good mood for the rest of the day. I enjoyed the lectures and labs as well. The speakers explained things very clearly, and the lectures were full of humor, thus greatly improving our understanding of the material. For example, when we were studying the concept of Excess Heat, the speaker used young people and middle-aged women as examples. Young people tend to develop a true excess condition, and if they get excessive heat, we can use things that are cold to cure the heat, such as throwing them into a swimming pool. However, middle-aged women, who are prone to develop a deficient condition due to their age, might have some sort of underlying deficiency that causes heat (think of those times when your mum gets angry), but you certainly can’t simply throw them into the swimming pool. You have to strengthen what is deficient rather than further cooling them down, which does not help but worsens the deficiency.
In addition to studying, I also got to hang out with some really close friends who are currently working in Guangzhou. It was totally amazing that you never know what life will bring you.