First month in China
We've been studying abroad for about a month now and have been blogging on our own site (http://baozisandjiaozis.wordpress.com/). Here are some of the highlights so far!
In CIEE, we are assigned to work in a group of 3 for a culture and language practicum course. The course focuses on getting students off campus so we can use our language skills outside of the classroom.
For Brianne’s group, they traveled to the 798 Art Zone (798艺术区) in Beijing. This thriving art district exists on a former factory site that was vacated in the 1950′s. The district got its name from the location — the original area of the 798 plant — where the early art organizations and artists moved in initially. Today, the area holds important international art exhibitions and art activities.
Our CIEE program director, Patrick Lucas, took us to an autism institute in Tongzhou County, which is to the southeast of Beijing. This facility is truly one-of-a-kind, in that it serves children with various disabilities; in China, any disability is seen as a social stigma. At the school, we interacted with the younger children (ages 8 to 15) and also met the principal.
After everyone finished, we took a few groups shots. Here are some of our favorites!
CIEE hosted themed dinners for us, so we went to one titled “Journey to the West,” where we ate traditional Muslim food. Shown above is one of the organs we ate before knowing exactly what it was – this one is a chicken’s heart! We also ate some kidney, and we agreed that the kidney tasted better than the heart.
After climbing what seemed like a thousand stairs, we finally reached the top of the bell tower and caught a traditional drum performance.
On Thursday, we went to see a Chinese acrobatic show. At one point, there were eight motorcyclists in a metal sphere. We were amazed at all we saw!
We were so excited to see the lantern/spring festival, until we got there and realized it got canceled because of the air pollution. Nevertheless, it was still fun walking around Qianmen.
Here we are at the Summer Palace, which served as a summer get-away for Empress Dowager.
On our first day in China, we took a group trip to Tiananmen Square. We also saw late Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum.