IPENG Study AbroadBeijing, ChinaSummer 2002 By Gautam Kumar
Step 1: 14 hour plane ride straight to Beijing! Definitely a bonding experience though.
Getting to know eachother in front of our hotel once we finally reached Beijing. Since the international dorm was full, we stayed at a hotel near the campus, which was nice considering we got our own bathrooms and daily room service.
First of all, we toured the beautiful Tsinghua University campus. It was quite a change from the Illinois cornfields.
Wait a second… that looks like Foellinger. That’s because the architect who built this Tsinghua building was a pupil of the architect for Foellinger.
A lot of time was spent eating too. We had an allowance to spend at local restaurants. Hot Pot is a popular type of meal where everyone shares from the same pot of food.
Being in China, we couldn’t leave without having a taste of some more exotic foods like scorpions and grasshoppers on sticks.
There were some great markets and places to shop in Beijing. This is one called Wang Fu Jing. We all came out of China as much better bargainers.
Of course, we couldn’t forget about classes. We were split up into 3 groups: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced based on prior Chinese knowledge. Whichever class you’re in, it’s a guarantee that you’ll improve your Chinese by A LOT.
We also had the opportunity to take classes in Tai Chi and Calligraphy. This is us practicing Tai Chi with the hotel attendant.
We were also taken around to see Beijing. This is a lake at Beijing University. Tsinghua U. and Beijing U. are said to be like the MIT and Harvard of China.
We also were taken to eat at a Chinese Tea House. Good food and awesome performances.
Another interesting thing you see walking around Beijing are the traditional Chinese squatters… wait a second…
A pretty nice view from the top of the palace. It’s amazing that all this is in a major city like Beijing.
This is at the Temple of Heaven also in Beijing. The program allowed us to see pretty much everything there is to see in the city.
We also bought front row seats for the famous Chinese acrobats in Beijing. It’s a show which I think you shouldn’t miss if you go to China.
14 people on a bicycle? Who came up with this stuff? It makes Barnum & Bailey seem like a side show.
The program also included a visit to the caves in a town called Datong. There were over 10,000 Buddha statues carved in these caves ranging from a couple millimeters to over 200 feet tall.
Of course, no program to China is complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Unfortunately it was pretty foggy when we visited…
A group of us also went to Inner Mongolia and stayed in traditional Mongolian “yurts.”
Overall, our trip to China was definitely an experience we won’t soon forget. Few people have the chance to visit such far off and exotic places and have so many crazy adventures. Not only did we have the time of our lives, but we learned so much about Chinese culture as well. I can speak for all of us in saying that we had many a story to tell when we reached the U.S. again. It was definitely an opportunity none of us regret taking.