Summer Camp 2012: Reflections in China – Amanda Coates Lich

Confucius Institute Summer Camp 2012:  Reflections on China

Amanda Coates Lich

            I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Hanban, the Confucius Institute, and North China Electric Power University for hosting my fellow adventurers and me during the 2012 Summer Camp.  I found the experience to be very enjoyable and rewarding and I enjoyed every moment of the trip.  Per your request, I wanted to provide some feedback about the experience.

What did you learn from the trip?  Wow!  Where to begin?  I learned something new every single day.  I learned that Chinese and American families have many similarities, including national pride, a desire for a better life for their children, and, for most, a competitive drive to succeed.  I learned that there is a not a “better” way of doing things, just a “different” way of doing things.  I was reminded of how important it is to just “roll with it” when things don’t go exactly as planned and how much more enjoyable life is when you appreciate the fact that not everyone is the same (with that sentiment, I am speaking both of my fellow adventurers and of the Chinese in general!)  I learned how much easier it is to achieve great things (bullet train, Great Wall, Forbidden City, etc.) in a political structure that allows for immediate and decisive action, but I also realized what a huge price is paid (emphasis on the well-being of the whole v. desire of the individual) to achieve those great things.  I admire the vibrancy of the Chinese culture, the complexity of the language, and the incredible history of the Chinese civilization.  I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to visit China and look forward to my eventual return.

Did the trip meet or exceed your expectations?  The trip far exceeded my expectations.  I enjoyed every single aspect of it.  I found the classes educational, the tours enjoyable, and the student guides very helpful and engaging.  I think the title of the program “CI Summer Camp” conveys the fact that our schedule was to be busy and that accommodations might not be “four star” hotels.  It seemed that we were “on the go” for much of the trip, but with only two weeks to see this incredible country that is exactly the schedule that should be expected.

What did you like the most?  The tours were amazing, the teachers were well-prepared and helpful, the university hotel facility was nice and clean, and the company of my fellow travelers made the trip so enjoyable, but above all, my favorite part of the trip was meeting our student guides, Sookie and Leonard.  These two students made the trip magical and helped us see China through their eyes.  They love their country and they are very proud of all China’s heritage and achievements and their enthusiasm and hospitality made the trip a life-changing experience.

What is your overall impression of the trip?  I had a wonderful time in China.  I think the trip offered a great balance of educational and tourist opportunities.  I applaud the effort of the CI to make sure our cultural immersion experience was an enjoyable one and I thank you for the opportunity!

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