China · 19 Days · 58 Moments · June 2017

Lilla's adventure in China

23 June 2017

#1 DM Part 2 Suzhou is the capital of silk production, the garden city and center of the double sided embroidery. All of these are unique brand images to this amazing town. Shanghai is the financial center of China, very international and very modern. It is home to the second tallest building and the third tallest TV tower in the world. Shanghai is also famous for a lot of "firsts" in China. All of these make this city very unique and one of a kind.
#1 DM Part 1 In my mind brand image of a destination is a unique picture or notion that comes to mind when mentioning a place. Beijing being the capital city, somewhat has an advantage compared to the other cities in China. When Beijing is mentioned my first thoughts are capital of China, 2008 Olympic Games, long and fascinating history of the dynasties, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City. Any of these mentioned above have become through marketing, advertising and promotion images of this destination. Although, Xi'an is located in the central part of China and it is not as highly advertised than some of the Eastern cities, when I think of Xi'an I think of the Terra Cotta Warriors and the beginning of the Silk Road. To me these are the most well known images of Xi'an. Hangzhou is a beautiful city, personally out of the five destinations we have visited this was my favorite. Hangzhou is known for its gardens, the West Lake and my most memorable experience the green tea valley.
#2 CC Part 2 Although we didn't have Chinese food but salad and pizza, we shared and ate family style just as we did the past three weeks. We had a great time and enjoyed our meal. Even though I loved Chinese food and I will probably miss it, it was good to have a little "taste from home".
#2 CC Part 1 This morning I had a big breakfast, skipped lunch, then had an early dinner. These past three weeks we have been pampered, and overfed. Normally, at home I'm used to eating a light breakfast, followed by a sandwich or something small for lunch then finish the day with a nice warm meal for dinner. In China we had the privilege and pleasure to be introduced to the local cuisine and try authentic meals at each city. By the end of this trip I wasn't as adventurous with trying new things as I was at the beginning. This past week most greasy and saucy meals gave me a stomachache so I stuck with foods that I knew such as rice, chicken and vegetables. At home we are also used to variety. I'm not saying we didn't get a variety of foods here but most of the time we did have the fish with the spiky back, sweet and sour chicken and rice. I do love rice but I also like to switch up my starches for a change. Therefore, to give our stomachs a break five of us girls went to Pizza Hut.
#1 DM Part 1 Ever since China opened its boarders to the world in 1978 the gap has become bigger and bigger between the Eastern and Western part of China. The government found it more important to keep improving on the Eastern side as it was already getting popular amongst tourists than to take a risk and start sinking money into the Western part and see what happens. Even though the Western part of China is just as unique with its unbelievable sceneries, history and culture as the Eastern part is, it was easier to keep developing an already established part for tourism than start something new. In 1990 a series of beneficial policies were put in place to support and develop the Western areas but there is still a very long road ahead of these parts of China.
#1 DM Part 2 In the minds of tourists the Eastern part has all the major cities and the most well known sites because this part of the country enjoyed all the benefits of infrastructure development, marketing, investment activities, establishments and strong Human Resources. Unfortunately, the Western parts were ignored for quite awhile and they lack all necessary resources to become popular tourist destinations. Hopefully, in couple of years from now the government will realize how important it is to broaden the spectrums of tourism and allow the locals on the Western part to share their lives, culture, history and heritage with the rest of the world while preserving its natural beauty and ensuring that tourism will only benefit the area and not destroy it.
#2 CC Part 2 Destroying monuments and disregarding rules and regulations should be punished at all times. Tourism has become an integral part of China's economy, but it is only beneficial for everyone if tourists take extra care of those cultural heritages that cannot be replicated or rebuilt. Preserving the culture of each country in this case China is very important to allow the next generations to enjoy the beauty and the rich history that this country has to offer.
#2 CC Part 1 Tourism plays a very important role in boosting the economy and providing jobs and better living standards for the locals. However, tourism can also have negative effects not just on the locals but also on the attractions and on the nature as well. The Chinese government is responsible for protecting traditional Chinese villages, residences, historic architecture, agricultural and industrial heritage. It is also crucial to preserve dialects and support Chinese music, calligraphy, painting, and the historic embroidery. However, we as tourists are equally responsible for preserving the cultural heritage for generations to come. With that being said it is crucial for those who travel to China to understand that climbing through guard railings to take a pictures with a displayed objects is not an appropriate behavior, throwing trash into the canals and lakes are probably not the best idea or just simply ignoring locals' needs and disturbing their lives are disrespectful.

21 June 2017

#1 DM Part 1 When traveling domestically or internationally it is unavoidable for our experiences to be impacted by other tourists. Sometimes these influences are positive but unfortunately most of the time they are negative. These past three weeks going through China, we have come across some disrespectful and inappropriate behaviors, such as the time when we were in the museum on the bottom floor of the Pearl (Shanghai TV Tower). Some of the Chinese tourists were climbing through the fence against all the signs and taking pictures with things that were on display. In Europe or in the United States at least one if not more guards or security officers would be standing in the room monitoring people's behavior and enforcing rules and regulations. In order to preserve history and antiquities more security should be placed at certain places to ensure rules are followed and people are behaving appropriately. Another thing I would definitely recommend is education.
#1 DM Part 2 Education by the government and also by local businesses. Students should be educated in how to behave even when they are in cities or countries they don't know. Unfortunately, some might not be able to afford proper education, but then tour guides should forewarn their groups to ensure that appropriate behavior is followed so no one else's experience gets impacted negatively. Sadly, locals assume that they can do anything they want. Therefore, in my opinions maybe those who think that rules are there as decorations should be punished in a way or maybe offered incentives to behave better, obey by the rules and show a good example to others.
#2 CC Part 1 After World War II Americans were not invited to China nor Chinese were invited to America. There was no diplomatic relationship between the two countries for a while until 1971. In 1971 The World Table Tennis Championship took place in Japan where one member of the American table tennis delegation got onto the bus of the Chinese delegation. However, instead of kicking the American player off their bus they treated him with kindness and respect. According to Jeffrey they even got an English interpreter for the player. When word got out on both sides about the whole situation and the respect both parties were treated with, China decided that it might be time to change allies and turn to America again. One year after the Table Tennis Championship the People's Republic invited the United States more specifically President Nixon to China.
#2 CC Part 2 This small interaction, between an American player and the Chinese delegation made a huge impact on history, opening many economic, social, and diplomatic opportunities and a life long relationship between the two countries. The Ping Pong diplomacy shows that a single person can make a difference and an impact the world significantly.

20 June 2017

#1 Shanghai, such an interesting city, unlike any other we have experienced so far. When we drove through the outskirts of the town I had the feeling as I was driving through downtown cities in Europe with many apartment buildings older and newer ones. Then the whole scenery changed as we got closer to downtown, huge skyscrapers, futuristic buildings everything was extra modern. Some people say downtown Shanghai reminds them of New York, but to me it has a very different vibe. It is unique in its own way. The whole outlook of Shanghai is very international. The first time in almost three weeks I saw an Italian restaurant, met many English speaking people, and I didn't feel like we were that unique anymore where people wanted to take pictures with us constantly. The traffic and the amount of people everywhere reminded me of Beijing and in a way it did remind me of New York as well. So far I had a very good impression of Shanghai and I'm excited to see what else this city has to offer.
#2 CC Part 2 Shanghai houses the second tallest building and the third tallest TV tower in the world. Sadly Suzhou didn't develop as fast as Shanghai did, which caused the two cities to switch places where Shanghai became the metropolitan and Suzhou turned into the "fishing town" compared to Shanghai.
#2 CC Part 1 Entering Shanghai after Suzhou it was like walking into a whole new world. Suzhou had older, smaller houses in the old part of the town while brand new buildings were rising in the new part. To me it looked like Suzhou was the developing city not Shanghai. However, when we entered Shanghai it was obvious that this city has been developing rapidly over the past years and has turned into a huge metropolitan. Based on what Jeffrey told us Shanghai used to be a fishing town and Suzhou was the financial center of China. Due to the silk production people in Suzhou had the financial ability to educate their children and bring in the best teachers from all over China. These educated young adults then moved to Shanghai to open their businesses. Shanghai started developing from an old fishing town and turned into a huge, modern and Western culture influenced metropolitan that's contribution to the GDP is about 20% today.

19 June 2017

#1 Suzhou has a population of about 4 million, which sounds a lot, but it is definitely much less than the cities we have visited along our trip so far. However, the amount of history and culture present in this town is absolutely unbelievable. Capital of silk production, center of the double sided embroidery, garden city are all nick names to this beautiful place. On top of it all, the oldest part of the Great Cannel is located here and it is also home to the famous Tiger Hill. There is no limitation of what you can do and experience here. Even though it rained today, I feel, we still got quite a bit out of the town with the boat ride on the Great Cannel, visit to the embroidery workshop and the stroll down on Pingjiang Road. Walking through Pingjiang Road and boating down the Great Cannel we truly got a feel for local life which was very interesting to me; however, I'm still very said that we didn't have the chance to visit Tiger Hill which is one of the greatest sights in this town.
#2 CC Part 1 During our time in China we have seen many forms of arts and crafts that Chinese practice, to relax, meditate, entertain and satisfy their needs. However, the one that mesmerized me the most was today's visit to the Chinese embroidery workshop. Growing up I watched my mom do cross-stitch and needlepoint to unwind. When I was little she tried to get me do it as well, as a mother daughter bonding moment but I just didn't have the patience for it. Then I got older and started showing interest in handicrafts. For some reason it relaxed me and the finished product made me very proud. Walking around the workshop today I was amazed, overwhelmed and mind blown. All I could think about was the time, work, creativity and patience this form of art requires from each individual. A needlepoint takes my mom sometimes weeks to finish and to know that these women spend months or years on one piece of art is absolutely amazing.
#2 CC Part 2 Another thing I can't wrap my head around is how they do the back of the embroidery exactly the same way as the front without being able to see it. To be able to feel the bottom of the embroidery takes years and years of practice and I know I would never have the patience to do it. I kept walking around the exhibition areas and I was taken by every single piece. The only thing I was missing there was my mom to be with me and experience the whole thing by my side.

18 June 2017

#1 During traveling from one place to another, every tourist in a way becomes a traveling ambassador, who represents the characteristics of his or her country with different behaviors and communication. With that being said tourists impact a destination in every way directly or indirectly. When interest increases about a place new job opportunities appear, where not just the well-being of a family rises but also the economy becomes more and more sustainable. For example, today we went to the garden in Suzhou where the little shop inside the garden was about to close. Suddenly, 25 Westerners appeared with pockets full of money to have tea. The people at the shop tried their hardest to sell us on their souvenirs because that's their way of making money. Their income comes from us and other domestic or international people visiting the garden. This was a huge tourism impact for the family but also for the economy as a whole. Without tourism some countries would be be where they are today.
#2 CC Part 1 Rest and relaxation are two very interesting concepts and to me they are very different. In my mind rest is when I sit down for 5 minutes to regain my energy or take a power nap on a stressful and exhausting day. While relaxation is something much deeper. Sometimes when I rest I still don't feel relaxed because I can't let go of the daily stress. However, if I really want to relax I'll spend a day at the spa just letting loose or sitting by the ocean quietly listening to the waves hitting the shore. In my previous understanding rest and relaxation were both an activity practiced alone in order to be able to hear my own thoughts. However, these past two weeks watching the Chinese people, I think that for them rest and relaxation are woven together and it is more of a community driven activity than an individual thing. Their way of relaxation is drinking tea quietly with other people or sitting by the garden listening to the birds singing and watching the peaceful water.
#2 CC Part 2 And to be honest if I think about it, who wouldn't want to sit in a garden and meditate to relax their bodies? I definitely think it's something I could get use to while sipping a hot cup of tea. Today I felt more relaxed, than I have in a really long time, even with the chatter around me, because just the fact that we were sitting in the middle of bonsai trees and sipping hot tea made my mind and body let loose.

17 June 2017

#2 CC Part 1 Having the experience from now three Universities in China and also from Hungary and the US all three countries are very different in terms of long-term orientation. Hungary with its score of 58 is in between the US (26) and China (87). Thinking about all of this the US with its short-term orientation does make decisions very quickly and they don't pay as much attention to maintaining relationships. While China is all the way on the other side of the spectrum. In China people can sit down for a business dinner but they maybe talk about business for 5 minutes. For Chinese people forming relationships and maintaining a personal network is extremely important.
#2 CC Part 2 Looking at the three university visits this long-term orientation clearly shows in many different levels. All of our hosts were waiting for us with a lot of excitement and a very warm welcome, because we were part of the relationship that was created between our universities. At the university in both Beijing and Hangzhou I felt like VIP, we were pampered and taken care of in all levels. These schools took serious time to prepare lectures for us, that were very interesting and unique. While in Xi'an we had much more time with the students one on one starting our own relationships by exchanging WeChat accounts. Another example is the continuous exchange of business cards between our school and the host schools. Even the Xie Zhu Technology company ensured that business cards were exchanged between them and our school. Fully understanding long-term orientation is still something I'm working on but I like the serious emphasis that is put on personal networks in China.
#1 DM Part 2 However, what was very disappointing to me was the amount of people. I understand local economy thrives on tourism but the herds of people kind of ruined my experience, unfortunately. All together I had a memorable experience I just wish the number of tourists would be somehow controlled.
#1 DM When I saw WuZhen Watertown listed on the itinerary I instantly thought about Venice, Italy. My perception was that the town is going to be very similar to what I have previously seen and experienced in Venice. However, I was very surprised, because the whole atmosphere was so different. This little village left an interesting impression in me. Some intangible tourism products made my experience very memorable. The gondola ride, was peaceful and exciting, and the shadow puppet show was interesting and fun. The way of life in the town was very unique and different, and it was mind blowing to me how people live there while thousands of tourists loudly march through their streets. Another intangible tourism product that impacted my experience was the culture that was created by the locals with their beautiful handicrafts. The intangible part of course was not the handicrafts but the passion, love, work and creativity that the locals put into it.

16 June 2017

#2 CC - Part 2 For example, at the Zhejiang University today all the important people such as those who have donated money to the university, the dean and all the teachers sat in the first row. To me this showed their importance and authority to everyone. During picture taking the more important people stood in the middle towards the front then everyone else behind them. Students do not move or talk without the permission of their superiors in this case their teachers. Also as guests we had to wait for our hosts to tell us what to do and where to go, we couldn't decide on our own where to stand during the pictures and we couldn't suggest ideas. During the signing ceremony everything was so formal and well organized. At the beginning coming from two countries that both have low power distance scores this cultural behavior was strange to me, but I'm starting to understand it better and better everyday.
#2 CC - Part 1 Being raised in Hungary and now living in the US it is very interesting to talk about power distance in comparison to China. Both Hungary and the US have a low power distance score meaning that people might be unequal at certain levels, but regardless of formal or informal settings everyone can share opinions, be on a first name basis with each other, give advise and make decisions even if there is higher authority present in the room. In some way hierarchy was designed for convenience; therefore, managers still rely on the expertise of their teams and lower ranking employees. However, we have experienced during our trip and especially during our university visits that China works in a very different way. In China people are influenced by their authorities and they believe no one should have aspirations beyond their rank.
#1 DM Today's presentation on smart hotels was very interesting. Without looking at different data I had no idea that upscale and economic hotels were in the maturity and declining stages. However, it is obvious that change is always necessary in order to keep guests coming to a hotel. I think smart hotel technology is a great idea. The cruise industry with the medallion program started turning towards the individualized and customized service, why shouldn't hotels do the same? Collecting data and using data mining to learn about customer behavior will only benefit the hospitality industry. Based on my understanding the hardware doesn't collect personal data, it studies customer behavior in order to better serve each guest. I think this is a wonderful innovation for the hotel industry because it allows hotels to learn more about their guests, provide customized service to each guest and at the same time the smart remote lets guests have an interactive experience during their stay.

15 June 2017

#2 CC Modernization, technology and the need for new has taken over almost every city. Beijing, Xi'an and even Hangzhou has reached the era of modern buildings being woven in with the history and the uniqueness of the old. To me it is mind blowing how in Xi'an from the railway station to the hotel there were many modern buildings and in a blink of an eye the several hundred years old city wall appears and by crossing it the scenery changes from the new to old and historic. Or how thousands of years of history, the Terra-Cotta Warriors can lay under beautiful newly constructed buildings for the sake of tourism. Even though it breaks my heart but the construction of modern districts such as the one we are staying in Hangzhou is very important for development, and for keeping up with the growth of other countries and the increasing population. However, I find it crucial for the historic buildings and sights to remain because that is what makes each city unique and attracting to tourist.
#1 DM Continue... Mr. Zhang with his story behind his paintings managed to sell many of his works to us students. It is a wonderful marketing technique that got a lot of us to buy because it was a story we can retell every time we show the painting to someone. Another example is the tea plantation where they told us that the tea we are buying cannot be found anywhere else as it was not imported out of the country and with the mind blowing presentation a lot of us spent serious money on tea. Or I could mention Nikki, Sally or Bing who have done an excellent job showing us around, sharing the history and ensuring that our trip is memorable and we will spread positive word of mouth everywhere we go. And as we all know word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool and after this trip I will definitely be spreading a lot of it.
#1 DM In order for a country to attract tourism marketing is crucial. I believe that the 2008 Olympics gave a voice to China and people started to be more interested in this country as a destination. However, I still believe that only major cities and their major attractions such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terra-Cotta Warriors are the ones that are being marketed. As a person traveling to China for the first time I had to do serious research on some of the destinations and sights we are visiting during this trip such as Hangzhou and Suzhou. Hangzhou by far is my favorite city but for some reason it is not as big of a deal as Xi'an and Beijing as a destination since in my opinion the focus of marketing is on those major cities. However, once the traveler gets to the country the locals and the tour guides do an excellent job marketing and selling their cities and their country as a whole. To be continued...

14 June 2017

#1 DM Continue... made sure that this was one of the most unique performances of the Swan Lake I have ever seen. This dance is super hard and adding the water and all the moving elements to the picture just made the whole experience even more memorable. This was a one of a kind experience I will never forget and technology has definitely contributed to the enhancement of my experience.
#1 DM China is one of the leading countries in technology and along our trip we have experienced the greatness, and enhancing power of it. The high speed train was a wonderful form of transportation, exciting but at the same time, time saving and one of those opportunities that will not repeat itself in every country and every day. 3D postcards, 360 degree movie and many other things have also contributed to the enjoyment of our trip to the Terra-Cotta Warriors. However, what tops it all was tonight's performance on the West Lake. The technology, work, imagination and creativity that went into this show was mind blowing. The show was emotional, exciting, amusing, unique and mesmerizing. As a past performer I have seen the Swan Lake ballet many times, which was one of the many scenes from tonight's "Impression of West Lake". Although, the dancers were not as professional as the ones in the actual ballet technology with its light, sound, picture and water effects...
#2 CC Living in Hungary and in the US I definitely came across some superstitions, but China has topped it all. In China every move, action, number and word has a meaning. Bing told us that gifting a fan is not something they do because the word fan also means separation. Pears are not shared by friends and family for the exact same reason. Chopsticks are never stuck into the rice upwards because it has the meaning of death. Clocks are not given as gifts for the same reason as chopsticks are not stuck into the rice. Gifting a clock in Chinese culture means "your time is up". However, not every superstition in China is negative. Bing also shared with us that Chinese people drink a lot of tea, because they believe, it will lead you to a long and healthy life. Sally in Xi'an told us that most people in China will choose names for their children based on a hopeful and good meaning. She also mentioned the number of dumplings in the hot pot have different but good meanings as well.

13 June 2017

#2 CC Beijing being the capital city of China has been influenced by other cuisines from all over the country. Xi'an in my opinion kept its traditional root and serves lot more dumplings and hand rolled noodles. Wheat is the staple crop in the North and heavily utilized, but rice is also eaten there. Even though Beijing is located in the North part of China and I would have anticipated more wheat based meals; however, fried rice was served at every meal over noodles. On the other hand we barely saw rice in Xi'an and mainly enjoyed noodles and dumplings, which I truly loved trying. Although, I was in love with my every day noodle soup in the hotel in Beijing I do think that in Xi'an we ate a lot more soup. As for meats and vegetables, to me it seemed like Beijing had a lot more saucy meats on the table than in Xi'an and we had more of a variety in vegetables as well. The cuisine in both cities were very different, but I enjoyed trying something new every day.
#1 DM So far I love Hangzhou. The way leading from the airport to our hotel, showed a completely different style of homes and landscaping as the other two cities. Even though we have not yet learned a lot about the history of Hangzhou, my first impression is that this city is more focused on agriculture and greenery than the other two cities, which I absolutely love. Although, I'm really interested in history and old architecture, for some reason, seeing greenery and water everywhere warms my heart. The inner city of Hangzhou looks a lot like downtown Beijing and Xi'an but much newer and much more modern with lots of trees and other greenery. The outer city has some very interesting homes where according to Bing 3-4 generations live under the same roof. I also loved learning about the things farmers grow in Hangzhou all the way from vegetables and rice to tea. I'm looking forward to trying different teas, learning more about the culture and life here, and seeing more of the city.

12 June 2017

#2 CC Continue... Today I leaned that in a way we are very spoiled because most of the time we can do what is good for us without thinking of anyone else's needs above our own. I admire the Chinese culture and the way they respect their families and their communities.
#2 CC Growing up I always thought everyone wanted to visit different countries or cities. Today reality hit me and I learned that not everyone has the same desires and dreams for the future. Some of the Chinese students wished for the "American Dream" but some did not. Michael the student I talked to, told me that he has no intentions of leaving the country or even this area. When I asked him why his answer provided me with first hand experience of how much even young students care about their community and family. We have been talking about collectivism for the past couple of days but seeing how a young student practices it, just made it feel more real. I realized that some students in China need to give up their own desires for the betterment of their community and families. Michael told me that if life once allows him after he has taken care of his family, he might leave China to visit another country but until then he will not leave. To be continued...
#1 DM Continue... I also found it very special that in the mist of the crowd and loudness there is a little sacred place for visitors and muslims where they can pray and take a minute to enjoy the quiet and peace. This is another reason why both domestic and international tourist should visit this attraction.
#1 DM Today I had a very unique experience on the Muslim street. At first I wasn't a fan. Too many people, weird smells and I wasn't sure what to expect. Even though it is not recommended for international tourists to eat the street food, it is still fascinating to see how local snacks are prepared and first hand experience a Muslim-Chinese bazaar. I personally took hundreds of pictures of the different snacks and got wonderful souvenirs at a very good price. The atmosphere itself is a very unique experience and I would personally recommend to every single international traveler to visit. As for domestic tourist, it is a must see attraction not because of the souvenirs but because of the atmosphere, the opportunity to try local snacks and to experience the feel of a Muslim bazaar because I'm pretty sure this kind of street cannot be found in every Chinese city. To be continued...

11 June 2017

#2 CC Chinese culture is very different from every other culture I have lived in or visited. Everything is about the greater good of the group over one person's needs. I love this idea. Although, I like living in an individualist society, learning collectivism has been challenging but at the same time very rewarding. I love having meals family style and sharing the enjoyment of food with everyone. Even though practicing collectivism has been challenging to me, the biggest cultural challenge is the language barrier. All the countries I have visited had different languages but English was still a well-spoken second language to almost everyone. Very few Chinese speak good English which makes things complicated. However, I'm doing my very best to learn different words and use hand gestures to help them understand what I am trying to say. With Dr. Wei being part of the group the language barrier is not as challenging as it would be if I would have visited on my own.
#1 DM Xi'an is a beautiful city with so many things to offer. I'm having a very hard time choosing one because there has been so many unforgettable experiences and all for different reasons. I loved the Terra-Cotta Warriors because it has such a long history and the whole excavation and restoration process just amazes me. At the Terra-Cotta Warriors the attraction itself helped create the good memories. And if I'm already talking about the attraction I would like to mention today's experience which is biking on the city wall. What a wonderful idea?! I love riding the bike but I never thought I would be doing it in China on top of the old city wall in Xi'an. The last thing I need to mention is local people. Mr. Qi and his team and the Front Office Manager from the Sofitel hotel have shown hospitality above and beyond any expectations. With their preparations and actions they ensured that our visit is the most memorable we have ever had and we'll always remember China with fond memories.

10 June 2017

#1 DM Every country looks at hospitality from a different perspective. I think that in the eye of the Chinese people, hospitality means grand, respect, honor, graciousness. All of these words are designed to make a visitor feel very special and unique. Today we had a great insight into the Chinese hospitality during our special lunch and the Sofitel Hotel visit. Mr. Qi greeted us with joy and excitement. Looking at his face I could tell how much it meant to him that we were all there. He was trilled to show us around and welcome us with a very special meal. I have never had so much food in my life but every bite was delicious not just because of the taste but I could feel the love that the food was prepared with. The hotel visit was also unbelievable. The management went above and beyond everybody's expectations to make not just the tour but our stay super special. I can truly say that Chinese hospitality is unlike any other country's hospitality I have ever experienced.
#2 Culture & Cuisine Continue... I feel truly blessed to have this experience and have the opportunity to understand the Chinese culture and the importance of community and family.
#2 Culture & Cuisine In Chinese culture family, community and professional and personal network is extremely important. Showing honor, graciousness and respect are some of the most precious traits of the Chinese people, that are not just expected towards the host but also towards each other. Several times today Sally called us a big family who needs to stick together giving face to us as very important visitors. At our lunch Mr. Qi greeted us with the most sincere respect and joy giving face not just to us but also to Dr. Wei and her family. Another example is our welcoming committee at the hotel this evening. To me we are ordinary college students but to them we were super special people. They prepared pizza for us and organized a tai chi class. I have never been to a hotel where the management went above and beyond to make the hotel tour so memorable and unique. I don't know of another culture that practices so much graciousness and honor that was shown to us today. To be continued..

9 June 2017

#2 CC During our 5 days in Beijing I experienced, learnt and saw many different evidence of "collectivism". In Chinese culture and history family and community has become extremely important. For the greater good of the family concubines had to "sacrifice" themselves which also shows how important family has been in Chinese history. Gift giving is another good example as it has become a community driven behavior. My most favorite of all is family style dining at a round table. When I was little I never understood why it was so important for my mom to have a round table. Now I understand. Sitting down with everyone for lunch and dinner sharing food brought up some very precious memories I had with my family growing up. We always had our meals on the weekends together sitting at the round table that my mom always wanted, sharing our food and our thoughts. I'm very thankful for this experience here because it reminded me how important it is to hold on to these unique memories.
#1 DM Beijing, what a wonderful city and experience?! For some odd reason China or as a matter of fact Beijing is not on many people's bucket list. Sure, most people dream about visiting the Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China but some wish these sights would be in another country. I can't understand why. In my opinion Beijing has so much to offer, everything I expected and even more. The attractions were incredible, with so much history and beauty that it would be hard to find similar anywhere else. Anne's "boyfriend", Mr. and Mrs. Zhang, Nikki and many other people we interacted with showed how hospitable, kind, caring and welcoming Chinese can be. Food was and is absolutely amazing. I never thought in my life that I'll be eating noodle soup every day for breakfast! I strongly believe that Beijing as a tourism destination has all necessary tourism products and more, that offers unforgettable memories for every tourist. To be continued...
#1 DM Continue... However, I feel that marketing China and Beijing as a destination is still not amongst the top. Honestly, I decided to come to China based on the presentation that was given in school, otherwise I might not have visited. Seeing Beijing, I don't regret any decision I have made.

8 June 2017

#2 CC There is a cultural behavior I cannot wrap my head around and it amazes me every day. The way people drive and look at traffic in Beijing is very interesting. The "science" of how people learnt to coexist with traffic and each other on the street without getting hurt is mind blowing. It almost seems as they don't care about each other but it's not true. It is natural for them but it definitely gives me anxiety every time I have to cross the street. This whole behavior begs the questions, why do people drive this way? The explanation to this behavior in my opinion is that there are so many people in this city that without the seemingly aggressive behavior no one would get from A to B. I also believe since people were used to walking, biking and riding the moped before cars were getting more popular, they maintained their confidence and control over the road and learnt to coexist with the rising trend of cars. At first this was all terrifying but I'm getting used to it all.
#1 I feel that people who are more opinionated than others are harder to influence, but everyone is influenceable one way or another. When I go on trips I try to look at each experience with the greatest passion and positivity to make sure I can get the most out of my journey, and I try not to allow negative influences from anyone. However, I look for positive influences because I might not want to do something, at first, but someone influences me and it might turn out to be one of the greatest experiences. This is exactly what happened with me at the rickshaw ride. First I didn't want to do it, because I didn't want to spend the money. When we got to Hutong I was still hesitant; however, everyone raised their hand during the count for those who wanted to go and I felt influenced by it so I raised my hand too. I ended up absolutely loving the rickshaw ride. It was such a unique experience, one of the greatest in my life, something I will never forget since I might not ever do it again.

7 June 2017

#1 Tourism products include people, attractions, souvenir shops, accommodations, and food. However, in my point of view, attractions and the locals are some of the main reasons why people visit a country. My experience on The Great Wall and the Summer Palace was so different, but so wonderful. Even the climb on the steep hill made me feel peaceful and happy. Attractions are one of the most important parts of tourism and one of the main reasons people visit a place. The local community is another great example of a tourism product. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about the constant staring and picture taking Chinese people do. I find it strange, sometimes uncomfortable, but at the same time extremely entertaining and unique. Today I had multiple ladies taking pictures with me feel uncomfortable at times but at the same time I don't mind since I see the excitement on their faces. People are crucial part of tourism as well and without the locals visiting a country wouldn't be the same.

6 June 2017

#2 The Great Wall, what a wonderful sight?! It was so hard to believe that I was there. I decided to walk up the wall instead of taking the cable cars. When we got to the entrance and started our journey I was overly excited and overwhelmed. Everywhere I looked I saw different parts of the wall, it was absolutely gorgeous. However, the steeper the wall got the harder it was to walk. I almost thought it would have been a better idea to take the cable cars. I felt exhausted and I didn't think I can go much further. Then I stopped for a moment and took a deep breath. I decided to slow down and take it all in. I watched other people take pictures, smile, talk and just trying to take it all in. This experience even with the huge crowd of people was something very magical. I'm a little upset that I will never be able to show my friends and family through the pictures the true experience and emotions I have went through, but for sure The Great Wall of China will remain in my memories forever.
#1 Destination Management Education is extremely important in any field of study. However, when it comes to tourism it becomes even more important to educate the public about destinations as tourism is a huge part of sustaining the economy in many countries. I truly believe that having study abroad programs, internships, cross cultural exchanges are some of the most important educational improvements for destination management. Cross cultural exchanges should be done more often in more schools as it is extremely beneficial for all students and faculty. It allows students to learn from each other and get an insight into each other's experiences and cultures. For me learning about the Traditional Chinese Medicine was extremely interesting and definitely an experience that will stay with me for a long time. I think teaching the public about hidden treasures of certain cultures such as the Traditional Chinese Medicine would be another way to improve destination management.
#2 Culture and Cuisine As a European student studying in the United States, I was fortunate enough to have the knowledge of and the experience in different educational methods. However, I was amazed and inspired by Dr. Ming's presentation on Traditional Chinese Medicine. My mom is against antibiotics most of the time; therefore, she has encouraged me to try home remedies and take homeopathic medication almost every time I felt sick. Even though it takes much longer for traditional medicine to work I find the whole concept and study super interesting. Traditional Chinese Medicine has so much history and so many years of research behind it, which is truly impressive and inspires me to learn and read more about this wonderful science. I had a great time during our University visit since it did not just introduce me to the life of Chinese students but also gave me an insight into the decisions and experiences of those who decided to study in China from other countries.

5 June 2017

#2 CC The dining experience in China is completely different here than in America. I feel that Chinese people find family and community very important; therefore, the way of dining also resembles that sense of belonging and community. Each table has a "Lazy Susan" on which many dishes are placed. People sit around the round table and share the food, while they are having great conversations. I think this is a wonderful way of encouraging everyone to sit together and spend time together. I wish every restaurant in America would have the same concept bringing families and friends together for a nice meal every day. The food itself is very similar but the ingredients taste more fresh and the ambiance makes a huge difference in the whole experience. I also have to mention that having noodle soup for breakfast feels like I'm in heaven. If someone would have told me I will be eating soup for breakfast I would have looked at them funny but now I think it is the greatest thing in the world.
#1 DM One of the highlights of today was visiting Mr. Zhang's home. It was so interesting to see what a traditional Chinese neighborhood looks like and how people used to live and live now. However, it also got me thinking. Without the stakeholders in tourism we would have never been able to experience such a wonderful thing and learn so much about Chinese culture in such a short period. For us to be able to visit Mr. Zhang we needed the government to allow him to open his house up to the public and of course Mr. Zhang's and his wife's hospitality to do what they do. We also needed the help of our wonderful bus driver, and Nikki our tour guide to get us to Hutong. Lastly without the passion, knowledge and enthusiasm that Victor our local tour guide provided we wouldn't have had the same experience that we had. For every country it is extremely important for stakeholders in tourism to work together to provide memorable experiences to every visitor and to sustain the economy.

4 June 2017

#2 When I moved to Florida people asked me about culture shocks. I wasn't sure what to say, since I didn't know whether I experienced any or not. Arriving to Beijing was a whole different experience and definitely a culture shock. I don't even know how to describe the situation at immigration. It felt as herd of cows following each other without any sort of organization. Then a group of security officers got on the shuttle with us (about 20 of them). All of them were on their phones not even paying attention to the world around them. To me it was very surprising as people in official uniforms usually not allowed on their phones in the US or in Hungary. It was unusual for me to see but it is probably normal here in China. On the other hand the food served on the plane surprised me. I wasn't mentally prepare for a noodle soup, even though it was prepackaged, it was amazing. Most of the differences will take time to get used to but this is all part of the beauty of learning a new culture.
#1 I walked out from the airport and everything seemed so unreal, it felt as I was in a dream. I have traveled quite a bit in the past years but this was the first time I didn't have much confidence in getting around since I didn't know where I was going. Everything was in Chinese, as it should be, the crowd was flooding out of the airport, then vehicles were piling up on the highway on the so called "Crazy Sunday". Apart from my initial culture shock, I was amazed by the culture and the way of life that greeted me. When we were approaching Beijing the city looked like every other major city I have been to, apart from the Chinese writing on almost every building. Then the landscaping appeared, incomparable to anything else I have ever seen. As we were heading towards the hotel, leaving the skyscrapers behind, the architecture changed. It started to look more like the Beijing I have imagined. Today was only our arrival day, but I can't wait to see what the rest of Beijing has to offer.