Reflection on my time in China

China was such a beautiful country and I was so happy to be there. I loved seeing how the day to day life for natives differed for how it did for me in America. Everything was very convenient, even the transportation system, and made it easier to get used to my time there. I felt that I really adapted to their way of life and it felt like I was at a home away from home. I was even able to hail a taxi, tell him where I needed to go, and successfully get there. In terms of my speaking ability, I gained more confidence. My last day in China I went to the Pharmacy to get medicine for my mosquito bites and the pharmacist was impressed with how well I understood her. She asked me where I was learning Mandarin and when I told her America she was even more impressed. I was so proud of myself, but I also knew that was because of how well all of my teachers, both back home and in China, had taught me. I loved my time in China and honestly wish I could go back tomorrow and for more than just four weeks. This trip was an honor and I will cherish everything I learned while on it for the rest of my life as well as use my new knowledge in the future, either personally or professionally. 中国,我爱你。


Hiking Up a Mountain

Our last day in Chengdu we hiked up Qingcheng Mountain, the birthplace of Daoism. It had rained earlier that day, but that made the hike so much more beautiful. Even though the hike was very long, and a little slippery at times, it was very peaceful. There were a handful of temples on the mountain that kind of acted like resting points for us during the hike, we were able to admire the culture while taking a break up the mountain.  At the top of the mountain was the main temple and it was absolutely beautiful, and you were also able to stay the night there if you wanted. As we got to the bottom of the mountain we saw a circle rainbow. It was the perfect way to end the hike and the beautiful day that we had there.



Chengdu IFC

On the same day we went to the Wide and Narrow Alley we went to the IFS, which is a mall in the financial sector of Chengdu. I don’t have any pictures of the mall itself, but it had a lot of high end stores including Gucci, Prada, Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, etc. Seeing this after seeing the alley showed a major contrast of places people liked to shop. Both places were very popular and you could get most of what you needed at either location. When we approached the IFS and saw all of the stores we all made comments like “my wallet is crying” because we knew we couldn’t spend money at most of these stores or else we wouldn’t be able to buy anything else the rest of the trip.


The Wide and Narrow Alley

The Wide and Narrow Alley is a very popular tourist area in Chengdu. While there I noticed they had a lot of panda merchandise and were capitalizing on the city’s main attraction. Chengdu is known for pandas and there are places you can see them in person, but if you aren’t at one of those places then odds are you’re standing by a shop that is selling something panda related. If you thought the price for a panda stuffed animal was too high in one store then chances are there was another store down the street with the same stuffed animal for a slightly lower price. It was a really good example of competition on a small scale and how the shop owners needed to make sure that they were giving the best deal to the customer, so you could even barter with them. Besides all of the panda memorabilia there was a lot of traditional shops that you could purchase from and it was a very fun experience.


Sichuan Opera

While in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, we got to experience their opera. The performer in the picture below was the one who made the biggest impression on me. During his performance he talked about the proper etiquette when at the opera. It was very informative, but he was very entertaining when teaching. He also talked about how us, as an audience, was important to him because people don’t go to the opera as much any more and that can be hard on him as a performer because he is at risk of losing his job. I appreciated him and his message and will always to my best to support the fine arts.


Reflection of my time in Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a beautiful city. You could see the growth of the city and how it is still growing. Over my three weeks there I became comfortable with the city and felt I could stay there for much longer. I learned how to use the bus and subway system, as well as hail a taxi and successfully have him take me back to the school. I was able to get anywhere around the campus and people would look to me for the directions. Dream Town, a part of the city near our school, was also an amazing place to see. There were so many restaurants that we would eat there almost every day, hardly ever going to the same place twice. I appreciate the experience that Hangzhou gave me and will cherish the memories forever.


Graduation Ceremony

After the first three weeks in Hangzhou we had a mini graduation ceremony. At the ceremony a staff from the international college talked to us about how important this trip is for her, but also for us. We had the privilege of becoming ambassadors, not just for the U of A, but also for Hangzhou Normal University, the school we studied at. It is now our duty to represent both schools and to bring the best impression we can to both schools.