The 2013 China Bridge Summer Camp has been an interesting and eye-opening experience for me so far, especially since I have never been outside of the U.S.A. I have had the delight of experiencing some fascinating things along our adventure here in China. I wasn’t terribly adept at using chopsticks upon arrival, so I had to quickly learn how to eat with them or else I was going to be very hungry. When we first set off into Beijing to visit the Summer Palace is when I first got a little taste of China. The cars on the road were very crowded and people use their horns a lot more in China than they do in the U.S. When we finally arrived at the Summer Palace, I was able to experience the vibe of the people. It was extremely crowded and street vendors instantly bombarded us with offers. One vendor offered me 20 yuan for an item and I kept saying no, because I didn’t want it, but to him, that just meant I wanted a lower price. He eventually came all the way down to one yuan. I quickly learned that if I don’t want anything from a vendor, I shouldn’t even look at them or else they will begin to hassle me.
Another awesome experience I ad, was when the president of our host school, gave a tai chi lesson. I have heard of tai chi before, but I never realized how intense it was. After doing only about 15 minutes of it, my legs were weak and I felt very exercised. These Chinese traditions that have been passed down throughout the ages truly are an art form and a way to strengthen the mind and body. I wish to continue studying tai chi when I go back to the united states.
I have learned a little bit of Chinese in the classes that have been offered as well. I think it is a very challenging language and the writing system is very beautiful. After having experienced some Chinese in the classroom, I have decided that I want to continue studying Chinese when I go to University this fall. Overall, this trip has given me a glimpse and some insight into what China is like. It is a very intriguing place and there is always something fascinating to learn or try whether it is the language, the food, the traditions or the people. I hope that in the future and I can come back to China and continue to learn about more aspects of this vast and amazing country.