Finally having the amazing opportunity to study abroad I decided to go to China. I am majoring in finance and accounting. The program I chose was a faculty led program called “Doing Business in China” so I thought what a smart choice to go with. I have always wanted to travel to China and be able to learn more about their culture and how they live their lives. This up and coming economy is striving hard to become more advanced. I am extremely excited about this trip but worried about the twelve-hour difference.
The time has come, after all of our lectures and meetings we had to do before this trip, it’s time to meet at the airport. It took about a full day to travel to Xi’an, China. While waiting for our plane in Beijing, the biggest noticeable difference was… the toilets. I never knew that their toilet was basically a hole in the ground. The toilets in America are called “western toilets” here in China. There are not many of our normal toilets here but grateful that our hotel has them. We arrived very late Tuesday night but were happy to be able to order pizza. The large size here looked like a small pizza in America.
Our first day we started off with an opening ceremony. We were able to meet a few of the language partners we were given to help us while we were here. During the ceremony, we were introduced to the director of the program and he presented us with wonderful information about the Shaanxi Normal University, which is where we are staying. After this we had a campus visit followed by lunch. During our free time, we took the bus to downtown Xi’an to see the city wall and drum tower.
Thursday, was our very first Chinese language class. Our teacher taught us the proper way to greet people, the numbers from 0 to 999, and a few phrases. We ate lunch in the cafeteria and then we were off to tea class. This was very eye opening for me because I had not realized how important tea is to the Chinese culture. Our professor teaching us about the tea had to go through many years of schooling for her job she has today. Not only did we learn about the tea we also were able to taste many different kinds and some students were able to practice the tea pouring themselves. This I thought was very neat.
Friday, we started off the morning with traditional Chinese painting. The professor had a book of famous flower paintings and had us choose the flower that best represented ourselves. I did not know when they paint they use black ink and also something similar to water color painting in America. After class, we met up with our language partners and visited their dorms to see how they were. At this university, there are four people to a room and the opposite sex is not permitted in the building at all. We continued the day touring the city.
Saturday was a day that I was looking forward to the most. The Shaanxi history museum was the first on our list. Next, we traveled to see the Terracotta Warriors. I have always heard of this and was super excited to see it in real life. While I was here, I learned that a farmer was drilling in a well to find water and he found a clay hat. He knew that this was something important so he reported it to the government and then the government went on a search to find the rest. To conclude our day, we were given the amazing experience to see the Voice of Chinese Opera. This was a special event for China and we were broadcasted on CCTV which is a national television channel.
On Sunday we visited the Yuanjia Village. This little village of 60 households makes about 3 billion yearly. While we were there our professor wanted us to think logically and come up with a reason as to why this village makes so much money. The Hanyangling Museum had a ton of little clay statues that they made many years ago. Very interesting being able to see and walk over them.
I had a reaction to a bug bite and could not participate in the activities taken place on Monday.
Tuesday I was back at it. We visited the Tang West Market Museum and were given lunch here. This lunch was one of the best. We ate outside on a carpet with a little table. After lunch, we went to the Beilin Museum and Shuyuanmen Street.
Finally feeling better, on Wednesday the Guanzhong Folk Art Museum was in the morning. I found this really interesting because I learned that bats are considered lucky. Traditional paper cutting was next on our list. I never knew how special paper cutting was for the Chinese. They use many of these for celebrations such as weddings. When we were able to try, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Thursday was our last day of classes. In the morning, we had our second Chinese language course. In this course, we reviewed what we previously learned and then went on to learn currency, sentences, and a few vocab words such as backpack and water. When the afternoon came, we ended off what calligraphy. I could not wait for this course. We wrote the Chinese characters and it was way harder than it looks.
Friday was our last day in Xi’an. We had our closing ceremony where I presented my power point that I will talk more about later and we received certificates. Now it is off to Beijing!