From meeting the Chinese students and teachers, to taking pictures with random strangers because I look different; studying abroad in China has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The Golden Panthers have really made it easy to feel welcomed and at home. All the classes assign group projects on the first day, and I truly believe it is to get us all talking and friendly. After all, I’m sure the nerves and excitement to meet each other is mutual.
Once everyone was settled in, it was time to go exploring, traveling, and of course, getting lost. Tianjin is a very beautiful city, full of different architectural styles with inspirations from Europe, Seattle, and New York. The Tianjin Eye is a great way to see the entire city at almost a bird’s eye view. Another great spot in Tianjin is Ancient Culture City, full of special architectural styles, classic cultural features, various folk crafts shops, and delicious local snacks.
Our next stop was Beijing and the incredible Forbidden City, as well as the Temple of Heaven. Beijing has a wide range of architectural styles, but standing out the most is a combination of traditional imperial style and modern corporate style. One of my favorite things I did was visit Shichachai Park, a place where locals gather for recreational activities like renting boats on the lake or visiting bars/restaurants with live music. I only spent two days in this incredible city, and I wasn’t able to do everything it has to offer; but rest assured, I will go back.
The last stop was Dalian, one of the biggest seaports located in the south of China. It’s a beautiful city full of its own character, with ocean-themed architecture and sometimes called the “Russian City” for its dome architecture. I got to stay in a castle, yes that’s right a castle, with a view that overlooks the city and the sea. A one night adventure was enough to soak up the city and leave me wanting more.
This was the beginning of more adventures to come – full of art, music, and great people. I am so glad I get to call this country home for the next 3 months.