So far, this experience has been amazing but at the same time very different. Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
When we first arrived in Beijing, it was unbelievable to see how much pollution was in the air. Once we started driving towards Tianjin, I noticed that I couldn’t see the top of the high rises because of all the smog, which was pretty fascinating, but at the same time frightening.
Arriving to the dorms was kind of a culture shock. One of the staff members of our dormitory started speaking to us in Mandarin as if we knew what she was saying. As a group we kind of all stood there with blank stares on our faces wishing we taught ourselves a little bit of Mandarin before we came. Lesson learned that’s all I have to say! l ol.
One of the hardest things I can say about living in China is the language barrier. It is very hard to communicate with the locals outside of the University which can get a bit frustrating at times. The language is so different from English or any other language. The alphabet is completely different which makes it even harder. On the bright side of things, I must say that the Chinese students on campus are the most helpful. They are willing to help you in any kind of way whenever it’s needed.
One night, a week into being in Tianjin, we wanted to try something different other than Chinese food, so we went completely all-American and ordered none other than McDonalds. One of the Chinese students helped us order on his McDonald app and it was delivered right to the school which was pretty awesome. It makes me so happy to see how nice the Chinese students are, and how they are so excited to become our friends. Without the Chinese students I don’t know what we would do. I can’t say it enough they are SOOOOO NICE.
These past four weeks have been pretty eventful. We’ve traveled to Shanghai for a weekend and traveled to Beijing the next. Both cities are pretty amazing and very different from Tianjin. In Shanghai we attended Disney Land which was spectacular. I think I may have to visit Shanghai again just to go back to Disney. It was such a great experience. We also attended the Jade Buddha Temple which was so beautiful and spiritually uplifting. As for Beijing, it was fascinating to see how many foreigners lived there. This may sound funny, but it was kind of comforting.
As for the food, I’ve eaten some really good Chinese food and some that I wasn’t too confident about, but that’s what this experience is all about — stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. So far I am enjoying every part of this study abroad trip and I can’t wait to see what’s more to come.
PS: We will be going to Thailand in about 3 weeks for Golden Week and “excited” is not the word
20 more days =)
Jade Buddha Temple