Monday, April 6th

Today was another day of language classes for the students, including another test (their final one is coming up tomorrow). Their evening activity was pairing up and conversing with Chinese students.

As today concluded the holiday, university students returned to campus in droves. Two St. Francis students happened to encounter a local high school student who has studied in the U.S. They invited her to the conversation event tonight and exchanged email addresses!

The students are all doing well, and have developed some basic routines during these days on campus. They have preferences as to Dining Hall #2 vs. Dining Hall #1; some like visiting the markets near the dining halls or in the hotel to purchase snacks regularly! Whoever wants to eat breakfast meets each morning at 7:30; the majority of students show up for that and generally we all go to the second floor of Dining Hall #2, which continues to have an impressive array of choices. Where they each eat lunch is up to them, and they take their major break in the day then. They have another break for dinner, but the regular dining halls only serve dinner 5:00 – 6:30, so if they are not hungry then, they can wait until after their evening activities are over and visit the third floor of Dining Hall #1, which serves “Western” food and stays open late.

Today the adults visited the National Chinese Art Museum and enjoyed the largely contemporary art exhibits. We had a dumpling lunch and then visited Jingshan Park and Beihai Park. The former gave us a fantastic view of the Forbidden City from above – it is larger than I had even imagined! We visit there with the students later this week. The latter featured a lake with gorgeous boats – gondolas and others we could only describe as round boats that resemble watermelon – and various Buddhist shrines. We feel we are getting quite practiced at the bus and subway system!

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