The trip to China was a very unforgettable and wonderful experience. The biggest challenges were the flights from Chicago to Beijing, and Beijing to Chicago, and the
biological clock changes as a result; surprisingly (unexpectedly for me), it was more difficult to adjust after flying East to West rather than the usual, west to east. The teachers of the Chinese Language class, Dance class, and Kong Fu were friendly, and fun, and the classes were enjoyed at North China Electric Power University, which has a very good campus (beautiful, but not as much so as WKU). Having read and discussed the population of China, it was still mind-boggling to actually see the population, greatly defined by the difficulty with transportation due to the incredible volume of vehicles, and buses, and subway trains which repeated every 5 minutes or less. Another astonishing observation was the lack of private homes, as well as the number of high-story apartment buildings in Beijing. The other part of the trip was being a tourist, and traveling around Beijing, where we were able to see the Great Wall, on steep mountain ranges, for which walking along it was challenging. We also saw the Tian’anmen Square, and the incredible Forbidden City next to it, which is 600 years old and very impressive as a residence for their Emperors. Also, the Summer Palace was a beautiful area for those Emperors as well. The numbers of tourists in all of the places we visited were quite large and crowded. Another very memorable trip involved a ride on a “Bullet Train” which was very smooth, even at 176 mph. The Botanical Garden was quite large, very beautiful, and had a Buddhist Temple, which also was quite old. On another day, we visited the Heavenly Temple area, part of which used in seeking relief from droughts, and also the 2008 Olympic “Bird Nest Stadium” and the Beijing National Aquatics Center, where the swimming and diving were done. Both of those facilities were large, and attractive. We also did some shopping, and the silk and pearl locations demonstrated how these products are produced in addition to selling them.
I highly recommend our faculty, staff, and students to participate in these trips, as the experience and the education is very difficult to match.