There are 7.6 billion people on Earth. If you think about it, that's a pretty big number. Although I am just now entering my sophomore year, I have still spent a year being immersed in cultures and getting to know people from all over the world. It makes that number not feel so unfathomable. I know from the friendships that I have formed that I have countless homes around the world, and no matter where I am, they can all be a text or a call away.
Still, there is a difference in thinking this and actually seeing it in real life. This summer, I traveled to China to practice the language, but also to get the experience of the culture, and to do service work. The entire 24 hour travel day that I endured getting to China, I was repeatedly struck by the daunting realization that I am spending a month, in a country that I'm not familiar with, with no one that I knew until after I landed in LA. It was scary, I'm not gonna lie, but I had talked to some of my Chinese friends before the trip and texted with them while I was there. They let me know what to expect, and they helped to ease my nerves.
Although my entire trip was unforgettable and surreal, there is one moment that still doesn't feel real, and I honestly don't think it will anytime soon. It was somewhere around the end of my first week in China, and some of my new friends and I were just walking around a park in the ancient village of Shaxi. We were all messing around on the playground equipment when I heard what I thought was my name. I turned around and saw a girl who I immediately recognized, she was the roommate of one of my friends during my freshman year. 7.6 billion people in the world, 1.4 billion in China, and someone I knew, a familiar face, just so happened to be in the same park as me at the same time, 7,307 miles away from Stevenson. It made me feel like I wasn't so far from home. It made everything feel a lot less foreign for a second.
This is why I can't stress how vital day and boarder friendships are, let alone how important it is to have a school that provides opportunities like this. That is what makes Stevenson stand out to me. The combination of day students and boarding students really makes Stevenson unlike any other. The world is already pretty small, but Stevenson makes it feel even smaller; it allows the expanses of the world to be right at our fingertips.