Throughout the trip we visited plenty of beautiful destinations but I have to say that the highlight of the trip was the Great Wall. The Great Wall of China; the only man made structure that can be viewed from the moon. Although Pr. Yao didn’t think so, I used Google Earth and was able to see it. It was nice to see that the Wall was located a little bit out of the city, this way we would get the chance to breathe better air. It was also nice to see mountains for a change. The part that we visited was small, but we still got a chance to see a decent part of the Wall. I am guessing the view would have been better if I was all the way on top, but due to physical limitations I wasn’t able to get all the way on top. I wasn’t discouraged though, the uneven steps of the Wall made for a difficult challenge. I still got a certificate that said that I climbed the Wall.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
One of the most interesting days in class while being at JinGiao was the day that we held an open discussion with the students of the college. The presentations from both groups were not of the best quality, but I think that both groups had doubts about the requirements of the presentations. Everyone in the room was uncomfortable and shy, we all warmed up very quickly. Although I found some of the topics to be of great interest, I also thought that some questions were simply childish. I was surprised to find out that their perception about the United States and Americans is mainly formed by what they see in the movies. “Do you all have guns in your houses? Are there a lot of car chases around the city?” Questions of this nature were not only funny, but they also showed the minimal contact that the students had with the American culture. Their proficient English speaking skills had me quessing otherwise until I heard the questions. Something else that also struck me during this meeting was the relationship students had with their professor. During the discussion Pr. Chen was loud and ordered students to take positions around the room. Taking from their responses I got the feeling that they didn’t have much of a choice. Students are very obedient to their professors. I believe this is good in certain occasions, but overall students should be able to make their own decisions and form their own opinions. During their college education, students should be making important decisions and forming their characters, if they follow orders all the time, or listen blindly to their professors, then it is likely that they will take on the same personalities as their professors. I was relieved to find out that my classmates agreed with me on this. The situation made us cherish our educational system, one which allows for an open interaction between students and professors.
I was very disappointed with the food that we had in China, I am a big fan of the American-Chinese food in the States so I was expecting something similar, perhaps even better. I was surprised to find out that most of the food served was unsalted, and at times, tasteless. Nonetheless I tried almost all of the items served in front of me. I believe that as a group we really disliked soup, which is a main part of the Chinese meal. I think that the beast meals that we had on the trip, were in Beijing, specifically, the picked duck. The duck and all the other foods served with that meal made out for an incredible dinner. Something else that I was not used to, was having three meals a day. Although this is customary in the Chinese culture, in the US, I eat only when I have time or remember to do so. Also, my experience from McDonalds and KFC wasn’t much different from the United States. The food wasn’t the best part of the trip, but I was always able to find something that I liked.