China · 21 Days · 40 Moments · June 2017

Mareya's adventure in China

23 June 2017

Shanghai Day 4 (CC): Today we went to Shanghai Disneyland! It was definitely nice to go to a place that's so new and raved about all around the world! In addition, some of the familiarity of the rides really prepared me for the journey home! But to start the day off I knew I should eat a substancial amount of breakfast because who knew when the next time we'd eat next. So I filled up on lots of breads and proteins. Then we made our way to the park. After about 4 and a half hours of fighting our way through the crowds we were starving! We decided it was lunch time. This Disney had a full range of food options from Chinese options to Western options, so when we saw pizza on the list our eyes lit up! For lunch I had a tomato and mozzarella Mickey shaped pizza, it was fantastic! After eating a lot of different Chinese food, which definitely had its perks and introduced me to try a lot of things, my craving for something familiar was so strong, and it was great!
Shanghai Day 4 (DM): All the cities we visited were so unique. That was probably one of my favorite aspects about this trip; having the opportunity to travel to to so many destinations. In Beijing, everything was so centralized in the fact that they were the capital, portraying their Olympic center and tourist destinations. Xi’an was similar, being they were the oldest city in China. They liked to showcase their city wall a lot, which I found great, being able to cross through this wall and seeing the differences between outside the wall and inside. Hangzhou focused a lot on the West Lake, showcasing it’s natural beauty. In Suzhou it was all about the canal street, which is very unique, and I loved getting to experience that. Lastly, Shanghai was great at promoting their urbanization and use of technological and upscale living. Every city was unique and they were all known for different things that brought in great tourism.

22 June 2017

Shanghai Day 3 (DM): China itself is such a large area full of so much history and differences amount their own country. It's interesting to think about how different eastern China and western China can be from each other. During our university visit today we learned all about those differences and what it means to be an eastern Chinese city from a western one. Due to the many invasions and technological advances in eastern China, their tourism is much higher than western China. The major city aspect attracts a lot of people due to many accommodations. This is the case with both international and domestic travelers. However, western China is trying to build their tourism because it's also a beautiful destination, rich in culture, traditions, and history. Hopefully, western China will gain a lot more credibility, and I too one day would love to explore this area of China.
Shanghai Day 3 (CC): Being a tourist in so many cities has really changed my outlook on how much tourism can make an impact. During our travels I have seen the many ways we are making a difference and keeping the culture alive. In China, they have so many temples, gardens, historical districts and much more! When tourists come to the cities they want to see all this. The traditional history is spectacular and unlike many places around the world. For Americans specifically, our history is nowhere near as long as the Chinese. So naturally, we want to see it all. And throughout our travel, we have attempted to do just that. Tourists are keeping that alive, and without us, it may not be preserved as long.

21 June 2017

Shanghai Day 2 (CC): There are many stories we have learned about the history of China that are very interesting. Today, we learned about something called the "ping pong" diplomacy. This story was about the ping pong tournament between the Chinese and US in the early 1970s. During this tournament one of the US team members missed his bus and another member of the Chinese team told him he could join their bus. After some conversation a Chinese player presented him with a silk portrait. Later, the American player exchanged a gift in return. Since gift-giving is very important to Chinese culture as I've learned, I can see how important this exchange was to the Chinese team. After this exchange of the two players China and the US's relationship took a great turn paving the way for bonds to be made between the two countries. It's amazing how something so small could lead to something so big!
Shanghai Day 2 (DM): Throughout our trip around China we haven't really come across many other international tourists until Shanghai. In this city I feel like there's a high volume of travelers especially at many of the attractions we visited. As nice as it feels to see someone else in the position of being foreigners, it can sometimes be an interesting experience observing the other tourists around us. For example, when we visited the Oriental Pearl Tower we went into a wax museum that had several replicas of Shanghai's history. Something we saw were some other tourists ignoring the rules set to not go behind the barriers and take pictures with the figures. Their disrespect was quite appalling and I have to admit, a little embarrassing. A recommendation I would make to eliminate this behavior would be to have a few guards regulating the actions of tourists. As we've learned every culture is a little different, and different rules apply in different parts of the world.

20 June 2017

Shanghai Day 1 (DM): When I began telling all my friends and family about my trip to China I would name the cities I was visiting. Almost every time the responses I would receive were usually, "Oh Shanghai! You're going to love it there!" I must admit, the city had a lot of expectation to live up to. From my prior knowledge I was ready to see a city full of technological advance we only dream of seeing in the US. Was this a fantasy assumption? A little bit. The very first thing I noticed about Shanghai was, "what's the difference?" The buildings didn't seem as tall as I expected, there we're a lot of modern looking architectures, it seemed like a normal Chinese city. But then, we kept driving further and further into the city. When we closer to the central part of the city, I saw the development and building I was anticipating. The building reached heights I have barely seen in normal US cities, and the store were modern looking with many advertisements and more! With the (con't)
Shanghai Day 1 (CC): - On our bus ride today our new tour guide, Jeff gave us a little history lesson on the relationship between Suzhou and Shanghai. Presently, Suzhou is not as urban as Shanghai, but apparently, that was not always the case. About 150 years ago Suzhou used to be a metropolitan town whereas Shanghai was less developed. changed when British came and introduced commerce to Shanghai. This completely changed the dynamic between the two cities. Shanghai started to become more commercialized, began to be built up more and became an international city. The cost of living increased and Suzhou fell on the back burner a little bit and wasn't as big of a city as it used to be. It's very interesting learning the dynamics that change between city to city here in China.
Suzhou Day 2 (CC): The art in China is absolutely astounding. Personally, I really enjoy art, and being able to be in an area that is so rich in traditional art is so rewarding. Although we have seen many different art forms in every city we've visited thus far, the one that has stuck out the most was actually the place we visited today which featured the double-sided needle silk threading. Upon entering this museum we walked into a room that had the Mona Lisa hung on the wall. At first I thought, how peculiar, why do they have a painting in a place that is featuring this silk threading? I was wrong, it wasn't a painting, the "painting" I saw was actually a piece of silk threading; but that was only the beginning. The room we visited next contained a few women working on this art and it was remarkable! These women sat for several hours a day, 5 days a week working on these art pieces. As someone who practices some art, I was so empowered by their dedication. Their attention to (con't)

19 June 2017

Suzhou Day 2 (DM): Although we didn't get the chance to visit the most popular tourist attraction in Suzhou due to inclement weather, the activities we did help me understand how Suzhou could still be considered a tourist destination. Upon arriving, Suzhou seemed a lot less urban than Beijing, Xi'an, and Hangzhou. The building weren't as high, the traffic wasn't as bad, and there just seemed to be less of what we were used to seeing. However, Suzhou seemed like a city a little less concerned with modern tourism, and more about cultural tourism. For example, today, we visited a workshop/ museum for double-sided silk threading. This is an art that's dying out, but there are still many women who participate in this art form. In addition, the canal street we visited really showcased the historic beauty of the city of Suzhou. This city seems like a great place for a more traditional Chinese experience.
Suzhou Day 1 (CC): Today Bing brought us to the Master of Nets Garden. It was a garden with various courtyards, rock statues, and small ponds. The beauty and peace of this garden was breath taking! Personally, nature is such a calming and relaxing place for me. I noticed this is something I can relate to with many Chinese people. As I've watched various locals I've seen how they relax, and what that means for them. When we visit the gardens I notice how they like to sit and take in a lot of the scenery. Today when we sat in the garden I noticed a couple sitting near us. They were so quiet and tranquil, drinking tea and enjoying the beauty of their surroundings. In that moment I noticed a bit of cross-culturalism. In comparison to them, our group spent their relaxation time talking with one another, taking pictures, and laughing with one another. We were a little more involved with each other, whereas the Chinese were more interested in their surroundings.

18 June 2017

Suzhou Day 1 (DM): Any time I travel I am impacted in some sort of way, whether it be from the culture, the food, or the environment. Being a tourist you are impacted by your surroundings of travel. But how exactly can tourism impact the the environment. Traveling throughout China I've begun to notice small things that we do that impact our surroundings. For example, when we walk down street that have small shops with souvenirs, the owners seem to seek up a little bit when we walk by. It's almost as if they weren't expecting it and are surprised at the hope of making some money. Tourism can have a huge economic impact. Many of these people will small shops rely on the tourists to make money. So if we weren't here as tourists they wouldn't be making any money, leaving them without income. Tourism isn't only about what the tourist experiences, it can also be about what the tourist does to their destination.
Hangzhou/ WuZhen Day 5 (DM): Today we visited WuZhen, a small water town that was built around a canal. We got to ride in a gondola, which I personally have never done, and it made the experience that much greater! I love doing things I've never done before, it makes my experience here in. China 100 times better, and the memories that are created will be ones that last a lifetime. Some of our lessons with destination management and marketing deal with this concept, it's a form of tourism products. And these tourism products can be tangible or intangible. So the example of riding in the gondola is an example of and intangible tourism product. Another great example of an intangible tourism product was a traditional puppet show that we watched while in WuZhen. Although I couldn't understand what was being said the show was enjoyable and catered to the tourist experience. This is what the tourism products are all about, creating a lasting impression that leaves the tourist happy.

17 June 2017

Hangzhou Day 5 (CC): Each time we visit a new university it's a little bit different. When we visited the Zhejiang University it was a little bit different than visiting BISU and XISU. In my opinion this was because of the long-term relationship our professors have with them. One instance was their allowance of the involvement in a ceremony they were having at the university the morning we came to visit. Not only was it an honor to be a part of, but they truly wanted us to be there, and to me, I felt like that was because they trusted our respect and desire to witness such a thing. In addition, they were very welcoming to us, even though their presentation was supposed to be completely in Mandarin, they were extremely willing to translate the entire presentation for us. It gave us a sense of inclusion and understanding. Creating and maintaining these long-term relationships are not only important for us to further our careers, but also respect and honor the Chinese culture.

16 June 2017

Hangzhou Day 4 (DM): As we stay in different hotels every few days it's really interesting to see not only the differences in the places we stay, but also my personal likes and dislikes between the hotels. Staying in a hotel is all about the experience, and many factors go into that experience. In addition, these factors are all individual, and the preference could vary from person to person. So how does a hotel accommodate everyone who stays in their hotel? Today we witnessed a presentation that introduced the idea of smart hotels. These hotels would customize a persons hotel setting like Tv preferences, temperature settings, and much more based on the data they collect from your behaviors in the room. The idea is to make your experience perfect for you. In my opinion, I really loved this presentation. I thought the concept was perfect, I don't know why it hasn't already existed. This concept is great because it will please the guest and increase the satisfaction rate for hotels.
Hangzhou Day 4 (CC): When we visit the different universities around our China travel I've begun to recognize the different levels of authority and superiority some members have over others. This concept is part of one of Hofstede's cultural dimensions called power distance. As we interact with both students, professors, deans, and others at these universities you can see the difference in who is superior to others, and how the lower status people deal with this power distance. For example, when taking pictures students do not immediately go in to join a picture, they wait to be invited. I've also noticed that it is very customary for the professors and superiors to sit in a chair in the front of the picture in order to be seen. This is not something commonly practiced in the United States, but it exemplifies the power distance they have here in China; something that is unique to their culture.

15 June 2017

Hangzhou Day 3 (CC): Traveling throughout China these past couple of weeks has really helped me understand how different their culture is from our culture in the U.S. For starters, their history is much richer and more ancient than ours. They have thousands of years of history; whereas, we have only a couple hundred years. In comparison, the difference between their landmarks and attractions are more drastic. But in my opinion, this makes the culture more remarkable. The most amazing part is how you can drive down a certain street and on one side their can be modern buildings, and on the other side there can be a temple that was build 800 years ago. The coolest example was when we were on the West Lake this afternoon as we rode the boat in one side you could see the modern city, and on the other side you saw the historical districts. I think this kind of thing is easy for their culture because they are very traditional, but they also really like improving their society.
Day 3 (DM): I think it's amazing how different places can have different techniques and tactics when it comes to marketing. What is the best way to sell? And how do you successfully sell to tourists? As we travel around different cities and tourist attractions in China, I've started to realize how they are marketing to us as tourists. One example happened when we visited a local's home in Beijing. They welcomed us into their home, told us about their lifestyle and what they do for a living. Then, the man of the household showed us his artwork, displaying several paintings. St the end of his "presentation" we all wanted to buy his authentic artwork. Another marketing technique occurred when we visited the green tea farm in Hangzhou. During this session the woman teaching us about the tea did little experiments that showed us the benefits of their green tea. In addition, she moved very fast and almost "magical." Again, after her presentation we were all so intrigued, we just had to buy!
Day 2 (DM): Going to the different attractions and "tourist hotspots" always gives me the opportunity to learn something new about the area we are visiting. What I love about tourism this day in age is the implementation of technology. We are so technological, especially my generation, the use of it is always helpful when learning. Some of the museums and tourist spots helped me learn a lot more. For example, the 360 degree movie at the Terra-Cotta Warrior exhibit was super helpful with my understanding of how these statues were discovered. A lot of the exhibits are presented in Mandarin, which I don't understand, so to watch this movie in English helped me comprehend everything. In addition, walking through the fan and cuisine museum in Hangzhou incorporated a lot of really cool technology that enhanced my experience. There were sections of those museums that made it feel like you were walking through different streets or shops in ancient Hangzhou. It was a really cool feeling!
Hangzhou Day 2 (CC): Our bus rides are always very interesting, and I really enjoy that aspect of the trip. Instead of just sitting on the bus going from destination to destination we actually get to learn more about the cities we are in. On one of our bus rides our tour guide here in Hangzhou, Bing explained different cultural beliefs, or "superstitions" they have here in China. One of the topics he takes about was not giving a fan as a gift. Here in China they believe giving a fan is a symbol of separation. So if you give a fan as a gift it means you will be separated from that person. Another "superstition" he explained was stabbing a single chopstick in something on your plate. To the Chinese this image looks a lot like an incense, which is a symbol of death. Hearing about these superstitions was very cool. I really enjoy hearing about what different cultures believe in because it's always very unique! Even in the U.S. we have different saying and beliefs, so it's awesome to learn!

13 June 2017

Hangzhou Day 1 (CC): Throughout our travel through China we have really enjoyed some amazing food. Something that I find really interesting is the differences and similarities in cuisines. I guess it's a lot like the U.S. (i.e. Philly cheesesteaks or southern cuisine) in Beijing they seemed to really incorporate a lot of meats and vegetables. I also don't remember seeing too many noodle dishes either. In contrast, Xi'an had a lot of noodles and dumplings. Personally, I enjoyed the flavors Beijing had to offer with their specialties. But, I will admit that I love dumplings, so I really enjoyed that aspect of Xi'an's cuisine. Although they had their differences, there were also similarities. The biggest one being the way they served the food. In both cities food was very communal. Again, there were hardly moments where we had our own plates of food. Also, both locations really emphasized and incorporated their local vegetables in almost every meal. This was something I really liked!
Hangzhou Day 1 (DM): As we make out way into the third city in China, I'm starting to see the similarities and differences with the different cities. For example, all three cities seems to have the typical city feel when we first arrive, tall buildings, busy streets, etc. But the more time we spend in the city I start to see the real differences between all of the cities. For instance, Xi'an seemed a little more historical than Beijing; probably because it is! When arriving to Hangzhou, I could tell this city seemed a little more urban, and as our tour guide told us, they are rapidly building it up even more. Something else I found interesting was Hangzhou seemed a little less populated than Beijing and Xi'an. In both of the previous cities there were many people on the road and on the sidewalks, an ample amount of traffic, and huge groups of tourists in the areas we visited. Although we haven't been here for too long, it seems Hangzhou will be a little less crowded.

12 June 2017

Day 9 (DM): Today, when I spoke with one of the students from XISU she asked me if I'd been to the Muslim Street yet. I told her we just went that morning and she was very excited. In that moment I realized that the Muslim Street was not only a tourist attraction for international tourists, but domestic ones as well. While we walked the Muslim Street it was very interesting to see all of the different foods and souvenir shops, and you could see how much future was being represented in one strip of land. For international tourists is was amazing for seeing how the Chinese mixed different cultures to come together and sell together in one area. The sense of unity and community was very strong and it seemed like everyone worked together. In addition, you could see how much the local tourists enjoyed this street as well. And for them, it is great for celebrating the things that make Xi'an special. It's a great place to visit, and must see no matter where you're from, foreigner or local.
Day 9 (CC): Even though this is only the 2nd time we have had a cross-cultural exchange with students from a different university in China, I feel confident in saying I really enjoy meeting these students from across the world. The chance to have this exchange is an absolutely blessing, and I'm entirely grateful for it. Today, when we met with students from XISU, I met a young girl named Cindy. At first, she was very shy and apologized a lot for her difficulty with the English, but then, she opened up a lot and having conversation with her was a blast. We started talking about our majors and I got to explain how my major was very different than most of the student I came with. She seemed very interested that I could choose a major like that. I asked her if she liked hers and she said not really, but she was placed in that field and that she will probably end up working in a hotel. In that moment I learned how much of a luxury it is to be able to choose our majors, pursuing our passion.

11 June 2017

Day 8 (DM): So far, we have done so much on this trip that many of the experiences begin to blend together. Sometimes I find it hard to separate what we did in what day. But I think it's because I enjoy so much of what we do all the time. However, it's important to reflect upon which experiences are extra special and will be the ones that last in my memory for a lifetime. While in Xi'an, I'd have to say the experience that has stuck out the most so far is the Lotus Garden. Although we did not spend so much time there, it has definitely been my favorite. For me, I really enjoy parks, and they remind me of growing up in Maryland and visiting the many parks there. Being at the Lotus Garden reminded me of this. Also, the beauty of it was astounding. I felt at peace walking through this garden and I really could take in the serenity. I wish we could've stayed longer but I hope to go back someday.
Day 8 (CC): During this entire trip we have eaten so many different foods and every meal contains different, or sometimes similar, items. I really enjoy going out of my comfort zone and trying different things. However, as much as I like to try a lot of foods, I've struggled a lot with trying the items that are extremely different from food we have in the U.S. For example, any of the jelly items, fruits, or "different seafood" (squid, octopus, etc.) I'm a little wary of trying. Sometimes the friends I'm dining with urge me to try them but I haven't been trying them always. That's something I want to work on as we continue in this trip. Hopefully, I can gain the motivation start to try more local foods and food we think as different. That is one of the main points of this trip and I do want to have the full experience.

10 June 2017

Day 7 (CC): As a group, we must recognize that we are not only representing ourselves but an entire group. Going back to the idea of collectivism, we must remember to be conscious that we are viewed as being together, not as an individual. When we go from place to place, visiting museums, temples, hotels, and restaurants, we need to remember to give face, in a positive way. I am very proud of being a part of this group because we do a very good job with this idea. For instance, we always make sure we are being extremely gracious to our hosts anywhere we go. This was especially prominent today when we visited the resort where we met Dr. Wei's family friend. Upon entering we individually shook our host's hand and said hello. In addition we were gracious and paying great attention. Another way we showed face was through the enjoyment of the delicious food. Part of the Chinese culture is to really enjoy food, and we made sure to do just that.
Day 7 (DM): When I signed up for this trip I knew it would be a heavy focus on hospitality, especially because it is a study abroad program for Rosen. However, I wasn't really sure what hospitality looked like in the Chinese culture. But after spending about a week here in China I started recognizing different things that defined Chinese hospitality. Some things that I have noticed they do is wait for us to arrive, making it special by standing outside of the building or even escorting the bus when we arrive to a property. They greet as all with extremely warm welcomes and are very friendly. They also go out of their ways to make sure we are comfortable, they ask if we are okay, happy, and well. It's evident that they really care about us and our well-being. Another thing that seems to be very important to them is making sure we are well fed. They love bringing us lots and lots of food! Personally, that's my favorite part, I have never left a meal hungry or even remotely hungry.
Day 6 (DM): Even upon arrival I was so surprised how "user-friendly" Beijing was for Western tourists. Almost every sign had the English translation beneath the Chinese characters. Also, it seemed like everyone was aware that we as tourists may not understand where to go or what to do, so when we asked, even if they didn't speak much English, they tried their best to help. However, there could have been some improvements to make it a little more easy for Western tourists. For example, when we were out and about walking in the streets, it was very high stress. Typically, crossing the street was so anxiety enduring; cars don't stop for anyone, and it seemed like we would get hit. Also, there are a lot of street vendors who will follow you just because you are a tourist. It felt a little invasive and not that safe. Although there was never an instance where anything actually happened, it made some experiences a little uncomfortable.
Day 6 (CC): Throughout our journey in China it's evident that there are many instances of collectivism. They seem to value each other, instead of being about the self. Some instances where I've noticed this is when we eat. Everything is comunal, we have not eaten a mean that is somehow not shared, but I think it's great! I love how it gives us a chance to talk to each other about the food,discuss the flavors, and relate to one another. In addition, traveling is always done together. For our group, it makes sense, we must stay together to get from destination to destination. But for the locals, I've noticed they also travel together more than it seems we do in the U.S. They have a lot of public transportation options. Also, many families travel together on scooters. Sometimes you see about 3 people in a scooter, which is very unusual for us, but for them it is very normal. It shows they like to be together, which is a great value to have, and I'm enjoying our collectivism as we adapt.

9 June 2017

Day 5 (DM): One afternoon a group of us spoke with Dr. Mejia on the bus and she explained to us how much of a process went into selecting the students for study abroad. She told us how this trip was designed to be all about diversity; having students of different ages, genders, cultures, lifestyles, and many more! We’re all different, and you can really tell! But this is something I truly love about this group of people, we’re all so unique, but I feel like it inspires us to have an open mind, and not only absorb the culture of China, but mesh our cultures as well. For me, I am actually learning more this way. When have conversations with one another we share a connection, and learn even more because we all have different outlooks on things. For example, something I might not have personally witnessed is hared with me, giving me more insight and knowledge. I love our group and it’s diversity, and I cherish every moment we share together.
Day 5 (CC): As we wrap up our last day in Beijing, I can’t help but reflect back on how much has happened in the past few days. So far, China has opened my eyes and exposed me not only to a whole new place, but a completely different culture. Although I have noticed some similarities in lifestyles, there are so many differences. The one that’s stuck out for me the most is observing the local’s demeanor as I watch them go about their daily lives. As I pass by people on the street, shops, and even in service situations everything seems so calm. I haven’t seen many examples of high stress situations. They seem very calm, collected, and stress-free; almost as if they view life as simple. In all honesty, it’s admirable. I feel like our culture is always rushed with high stakes and worries, but here it seems like they just live. Personally, I’d like to adopt that behavior into my personal lifestyle. That's what I love about this trip, being inspired by the culture in ways I wasn't expecting.

8 June 2017

Day 4 (DM): Throughout our stay here in Beijing there have been many aspects, attractions, and activities that qualify as a tourist product. For instance, today we experienced the Great Wall of China, the Jade Gallery, the Summer Palace, along with the various restaurants we ate at, and souvenir shops we shopped in. All of these places and attractions cater to the tourist and make them feel welcomed, serving that "wow" factor. Personally, these feeling was most prominent at the Wall. Upon arriving to the Wall I was overwhelmed by the sense of welcoming, it's as if they really wanted to invite us to experience the beauty and history of the Great Wall, and that's exactly how I felt. While on the wall I stood and looked around at the different options they gave to witness the beauty in ways that catered to different people. For example, there were areas that had railings if you wanted to feel more secure, or side steps to sit on, there was even a side exit with sturdy stairs.

7 June 2017

Day 4 (CC): What do you think of when you think of China? The Great Wall of China. Today I had the amazing honor of being able to visit one of the world's 7 wonders! The bus ride there didn't even seem that real, but when we started seeing sections of the wall I thought to myself, this is really happening! We had the option to either walk the whole wall or take a cable car that would bring us most of the way up. Although the cable car sounded a little cool, I thought I myself, I want the ENTIRE experience; so, I decided to walk. I was pumped and ready to go! We got to the starting point and it finally really hit me that I was about to walk the Great Wall of China! A group of about 18 of us decided to do this climb, but after about 5 minutes I found myself with just Grace. We decided to take our time to really absorb everything. The first section was rough. I'm not scared of heights but something about the steep incline that we had to walk up shot my adrenaline up so high... *con't*
Day 3 (DM): During our Q&A session today one Rosen student asked a BISU student what courses they took and if they were anything like the courses we were taking, for example, Destination Marketing. The student answered by explaining they wish they had more classes like we did, and he admitted they did not really have a class like Destination Marketing. As China is one of the leading cities in hospitality, it is surprising that they do not really have courses to educate their hospitality students about destination management. To improve this courses like Destination Marketing should start to be implemented in their curriculum. The more education, the more their hospitality business will improve even more! It seems their education programs are always evolving, and hopefully with the exposure of our visit they can adapt the idea to add more courses that enhance their services. China is a beautiful destination, with many tourist attractions and history, marketing would help enhance that.
Day 3 (CC): Today’s morning started off very interestingly! We left the hotel bright and early to head to BISU. Upon arrival we got settled and immediately started a lesson about TCM, taught by Dr. Ming LEI. All of the familiarity of being a college student came back. Then, we were joined by students from BISU. After an introduction there was a Q&A session, allowing us to ask them any questions. I was fully engaged by their answers, they had amazing stories. When the Q&A finished I branched off ad spoke with a student named Jerry. We talked about our majors and plans for the future. In that moment I learned that although I was halfway across the world I was able to have a conversation with a student who was just like me, the only major difference being he studied in Beijing, and I in the U.S. And I was able to learn this because of our cross-cultural experience, without it I may have never grasped how alike everyone can be, despite the different cultures.

6 June 2017

Day 2 (DM): Today’s activities included so many visits to different businesses! First, we dealt with any small businesses in the 789 Art District. These shops included so many different art styles like musical whistles, copper wire sculptures, hand woven silk scarves, and many more! I loved looking at the different art, I’m a huge art junkie! But that art didn’t end there. After a delicious lunch we met Victor! An amazing storyteller and tour guide for the afternoon. He took us on a rickshaw ride though the residential district of Beijing. The rickshaw ride consisted of one man biking two people in a cart behind him; it was impressive! The ride ended at the house of a man named Chang. Chang was a local artist who has lived in Beijing his whole life. He shared his story with us and some of his beautiful artwork as well. All of these experiences helped me understand the positive impacts of having a business in a tourist area, and connecting your heritage with the business side of tourism

5 June 2017

Day 2 (CC): I can tell meal times are always going to be an exciting thing here in China. I can’t lie if I didn’t admit that I get excited on our way to any meal time. Eating today in China was such an experience. First, it meant we could rest and enjoy some great food over conversation and company. The first meal that stuck out was our lunch. We went to a restaurant where we enjoyed some traditional Dim Sum, which meant we would be sharing bite-sized portions of food. It was amazing! Dinner was similar in the fact that we all shared different items they gave us, but this time the food was heaver and more meal-styled. The biggest difference I noticed about Chinese meal time is it’s all about community. Every meal included sharing and conversation about what we thought of the different food. There was never a dull moment of conversation! Sometimes in the U.S. we’re so focused on our own individual food we lose the quality time, I really like the difference in China.

4 June 2017

Day 1 (CC): Checking out some cute pandas at the Beijing Zoo!! In these pictures, all the pandas are enjoying some yummy breakfast! I agree with you, panda friends. This morning we woke up officially at 4:30am, I couldn’t tell if it was the jet lag or the fact that I fell asleep at 7:30pm the night before. The breakfast in the hotel was so delicious with so many options. This was one of the first cultural differences I recognized. They had so many different types of food! My personal favorite was the noodle station, you could customize a noodle or dumpling soup. It was delicious! Then we were off to the zoo! There were so many animals at the Beijing Zoo, and so much space to go along with it. I really loved how calm everything was. It was very unlike zoos in America where they can get very crowded and loud and everyone seems to be rushing. The zoo here seemed very relaxed, peaceful, and everyone took their time moving from exhibit to exhibit.

3 June 2017

Day 1 (DM): When our plane finally touched down in Beijing, I have never felt happier! The 13-hour flight was an experience I had never experienced before. Sure, I have flown on many planes, but never for that long! One of the first things I noticed was how every sign had English written below the Chinese. We ended up following the whole crowd to customs, where we stood in a long line for about 15-20 minutes. You could tell everyone was very tired. Then we got our baggage and headed to the lower level to catch a taxi. Once we got in the taxi we headed to the hotel! I don’t think it hit me that I was in China until that taxi ride. We started passing buildings as we entered the city and everything was beautiful! The architecture of the buildings was so interesting. They did not look like building we have in the U.S. As a whole, I could tell this was the start to an amazing journey.