|Wisdom Path, Hong Kong|
|Getting on the Dragon Boat|
|Visiting the Big Buddha in Hong Kong|
Another place I visited was Yellow Mountain. I hiked for more than eight hours and made it to the highest point of Yellow Mountain; this was an accomplishment because I did not believe I was physically in shape to do it. However, I pushed myself mentally and physically and completed the hike at the same time as the other students. I also fulfilled a personal dream when I visited the Great Wall - a historical and famous site. Just being there with its thousands of years of history was amazing. Throughout this trip I learned a lot about Chinese history but was also able to relate by visiting the historic sites I read about in my classes.
|Celebrating my accomplishments at Yellow Mountain.|
|Yellow Mountain with my hiking buddy Zhi.|
One aspect of the experience that I would have preferred to be different would be to study in an academic setting at a university in China. Unfortunately I did not have that experience because my program consisted of a lot of traveling from city to city. The entire month I was living in different hotels, and our class met in the hotel conference rooms. After the trip I spoke with my friend who studied abroad in China on a program through the College of Staten Island instead of through Brooklyn College as I did. She said that she had observed many differences; for example, she said that the university library was strictly for studying and students were not able to roam around the library and leave their stuff around or they would receive a ticket. My friend also observed that the classroom setting was different and the professors were more strict and had higher expectations of the students in contrast to the United States. My program was more of a self-taught class and did not provide experience in an international university setting as I would have liked.
|At the Great Wall|
Something I came to realize was that it is challenging to communicate with others while living in a country that speaks a language you are not familiar with. Although I know basic words and sentences, this knowledge only allowed me to ask questions. Chinese is spoken with different tones at a quick pace, and it was very difficult for me to understand the answers to my questions. Most of the time I asked Chinese students who came on the trip to translate for me, and they did for this for other students as well. This has made me more sensitive to foreigners in this country. My trip made me realize how much foreigners struggle to communicate with people and how frustrating that could be; I never thought about that before.
|Fishing village in Hong Kong|
|At a Buddhist temple in Nanjing|