Confucius Institute at WKU China Experience

The Official Blog Site for the Confucius Institute China Trips

Confucius Institute at WKU China Experience - The Official Blog Site for the Confucius Institute China Trips

One week until departure!

One week from today, we will be en route to Beijing (via Detroit and Seattle for one group and Chicago for the other).  We arrive in Beijing on Friday, April 3rd around 8:00 p.m. (Louisville time, this will be Friday morning around 8:00 a.m.)  Students and parents are excitedly practicing our Chinese in preparation for the language classes.  Today we received the polo shirts and backpacks from the Confucius Institute (everyone will be getting theirs today or tomorrow).  It’s getting close!


2015 St. Francis Intensive Language Trip

Ms. Janna Chiang, Mr. Bob Jones, and Ms. Suzanne Gorman, will be leading a group of 22 students from St. Francis, and 8 parents to China on April 2, 2015. The core purpose of the trip is two-fold.  The first leg of the trip, the students will undergo and intensive language program, with the second leg of the trip being a cultural program.  The students also do sight seeing while in Beijing (Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, etc.), and then depart Beijing via overnight rail to beautiful Xi’an, China, which is the home of the Terrcotta Warriors.   Please follow their journey to the East.

Leslie Paul Wilson

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.

Madeline Harper Tighe

To many Americans, China is an enigma – an immense country lurking in the East that we hear about on the news but never really understand. We see depictions of foggy mountain palaces carved from single blocks of stone, promising that ancient history will prove eternal; at the same time, apartment buildings rise from dense and bustling metropolises and the titanic promise of industry hovers on the horizon of the global economy.

There’s nothing better to dissuade misconceptions about something than to thrust yourself into it. When I anticipated my trip, I had some idea of what to expect: I’ve been to China once before, on a trip that was mostly shallow tourism. But I’ve never stayed overnight at a school, never really spent time seeing how students my age in China lived. During my stay so far at the Shouguang Century School, the enthusiasm of students for learning – and their enthusiasm for helping us learn – made me admire the studiousness that seems so deeply imbued in Chinese culture.

Being in China has made me appreciate the differences it has from home. The emphasis on hospitality – something which often seems tragically lacking from modern America – is easy to accept as one of the travel-weary. But what I find most admirable about Chinese culture is the vastness of its history. Coming from a country whose story dates back less than three centuries makes me marvel at the relevance of the past, like how students as young as the first grade learn calligraphy — something I had the opportunity to practice with little success.

Much about China still remains a mystery to me – it would be silly to think I could ever understand a country so entirely foreign. But here, I’ve noted similarities in popular culture when chattering with kids my age. Though I’m a person who’s pretty quick to get homesick, the friends I’ve made here – and the enthusiasm of so many to make me feel welcome – have been enough to make a place a thousand miles away feel just a little like home.

La’Jada Jordon Massey

This trip to China has had ups and downs — mainly downs — but my ups are moving very slowly. One of the reasons why it’s moving very slowly is because I get homesick pretty bad and I worry that something bad might happen there and I need to be there just in case. Shandong is very beautiful; all the amazing places and the people here are very quite amazing. The kids at Shouguang Century School are friendly, which makes me feel very comfortable, The School hours are pretty long, one class is 3 hours and that’s really long for just one class. When I went to Qufu I was very amazed at the beauty of “Some Places”. The food here is very good.  It’s actually better than I thought. The beef stew we had today was AMAZING. I am really starting to love this place, but there’s no place like home.

The Best part of China I think is the scenery, very pretty scenery – oh, and plus the history can’t forget about the history here, the history here is quite nice and I can not wait to go to school to tell people I have actually been to The Kong’s family mansion, Temple, and Cemetery, SO COOL, I think I’m lucky because this is like a once in a life time thing for free.

Before I leave China I want to be able to connect to some kids to know that they kind of have the same life as we do.

Amber Nichole Johnson

My experience in the 2013 Summer Bridge trip to China so far has been absolutely amazing.  I’ve always been interested in Chinese culture so I was expecting a lot from this experience, and I haven’t been disappointed in any way.  I especially appreciate having the chance to participate in the Chinese education system at the Beijing Royal School and the Shouguang Century School.  Simple tourists don’t get the chance to experience this part of Chinese culture, so I feel very appreciative of the fact that I can experience it as if I’m a student here myself.  The Chinese students are very welcoming and understanding, as well as helpful and friendly.  I feel as if I’ve truly learned more about China in just these past few days than I have the entire year I took Chinese class at my school in Kentucky.  The sightseeing is also very fun and educational, the teachers and others do a very good job at explaining the history and culture behind the beautiful landscapes and artifacts.  I often ate at Chinese restaurants back in Kentucky, and I was aware that the food was not “authentic Chinese”.  The food here is even better than I could possibly imagine.  Everything that I took a bite of, aside from a few fruits, was delicious.  The scenery here in China is even more beautiful than what I saw in pictures, and even the Shouguang Century School is very nice to look at it.  The classes are very in-depth and informative, but not to the extent of being dull or boring.  The classes are very entertaining as well, and the Chinese students are eager to participate and help us learn even more.  So far, I haven’t had to ask for any extra items of any sort because everything I needed was either provided to me before I asked or was already in my room waiting for me.  I greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in the program and would love to visit China again someday if I ever get the chance.

Linda Aguazul Cruz

Does everyone know how to use the bathrooms here?

I rolled my eyes as some of my classmates listened intently to the teacher as if she were telling them the secret of life. In moments like these I felt superior, part of an elite group, who had experienced this all before. The fond memories of a previous world trip kept surfacing and they only reinforced the idea that my knowledge made me special.


Although knowledge is power, it is also true that the more you have the less you know. Many times on this trip I felt frustrated when previous knowledge actually hindered me and I fell into the trap of, “But in Taiwan it was like this. I never saw this there. I think I saw something like this before.” Instead of my mind being open to new things, I realized that I had subconsciously closed it off and was trying to relive previous trips and apply those customs to China. Doing this was not only stressful but also detrimental to the growth of my worldview that could be expanded by the trip.


Linda, would you like to say the sentence out loud?

“Uhh…” I looked around the room in confusion as I looked at the letters on the page. Suddenly, I heard a whisper in my ear and like a parrot I repeated the sounds out loud to the teacher.

“Very good!”

I looked thankfully at my savior, a host student with glasses and short jet-black hair, and smiled before continuing the lesson.

In the classroom, I felt helpless as I stumbled through countless Chinese phrases. Although irritated and drained, everyday I left the classroom feeling happier than the day before. During this period of bonding with my Chinese classmates, I forgot about everything else and simply enjoyed the opportunity to learn. Having such understanding classmates and teachers made me feel as if it was ok to ask questions and not know all the answers. Having forgotten that this was a learning experience at the very beginning of the trip, it was refreshing to have a renewed outlook on learning as much as possible.


Although the trip is only halfway over, I feel that the time I have spent at the Shouguang Century School has sparked in me the love for learning that had become somewhat extinguished at the start of this trip. My host classmates and the cultural lessons have reminded me of the magic found in learning new things and that the more knowledge you have the less you know about the world.

Daja Carnell

The Shouguang Century School has been to me a some what of a life changing place, if it had not have been for this school and the wonder full teachers. I would not have had the chance to learn about the wonderful Chinese culture and all it has to offer. The students and teachers each uniquely have there own sense of style, much like us Americans, and you have to love there hummer. I can relate to many of the students, in simple way like the movies we love to watch, to what we want to be when we get older. I love how they take such interest in our culture, as do we to theirs, it makes it easier to learn and help teach each other.

There is never a time when you are made to feel uncomfortable, because the whole class is there to encourage you, and the teacher encourage you also. I would have never have imagined that the Chinese food here would be this great, I have tried so many different things, and by far the Sweet Chicken has been my favorite. The chopsticks are not as hard to use as they look I struggled at first but I caught on quickly, and mastered eating rice with them. The places we have been are so educational and moving, I really enjoyed going out during the day and seeing all the places that we had just learned about in class the day before. I enjoyed seeing all the people and the way of life that the Chinese people live it is so amazing.

Alexis Bellamy

My experience at Shouguang Century School has been very educational and eye opening. The students and teachers are like Americans in so many ways, from the sense of style to their sense of humor. I really enjoy having class combined with the Chinese students. Meeting new people, learning the Chinese language and experiencing new students and teachers have been very motivating and fun. We learn from them and they learn from us bridging our cultures. I love the music and dancing. The music is different but very heartwarming. The Century school staff has worked so hard to accommodate for our needs and safety. They are so friendly and kind all the time. The classes today were exciting. My favorite was the Calligraphy. Happiness was the word I wrote and that expresses my feelings for this whole trip. When we went to the Confucius Cemetery it was amazing seeing all the flowers around his tombstone and people bowing in respect for him. The food is wonderful and has a different style. Trying them is exciting as well. The dragon fruit is by far my favorite. It is similar to watermelon. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!!!