Hungshan is a classic northern China city, I was named by the famous mountain near by the city. We didn’t go to the city because of the safety issue. It is a shame, because the Huangshan mountain is a tourist spot that you can’t miss. I really like the old street of Huangshan, it perfectly shows the culture and architecture of northern China. I spend a lot of time at the old street just relax and enjoy the food there.The other thing I really like is going out for food at night in Huang with Dr. Xinli. He knows his hometown well and he always can find some good food which can only be found in Huangshan. We also visit Dr. Xinli’s hometown which is a village near by the Huangshan city.

By Lichen Zheng


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The cigarette factory in Chongqing

We visited a cigarette factory in Chongqing, which produce many famous cigarette brands in China. China still has a large population that consume cigarette, so I assume the produce line I see is advanced. In the cigarette factory, I saw a modern fully automatic factory produce line for the first time. I think everyone was shocked by the machines, and amazed by the power and speed of the machines. I also like the city of Chongqing, it was the capital of China once. I can tell the city had a rich modern time history, but it is a shame that we stay there for only two days. If someone wants to travel to Chongqing, DO NOT DRIVE, the roads there are more like maze.

By Lichen Zheng


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I traveled to Dalian when I was 10 years old, and it appeared to be a small city and surrounded by many undeveloped rural area. However, 9 years later, I come here again and found myself can not match it with the Dalian in my memory. It became a full size city, and the rural area started to developed by the city government. Tourism becomes another economic income other than fishing, because Dalian is a city on the coast. I gladly see that the air do not become polluted as the city grow in size, and the traffic is still acceptable. In my opinion this is a city will nice environment and many opportunity for jobs and business.

By Lichen Zheng




Xian, a small city with rich history, is one of the very first capitals of China. It was the Capital of Qin dynasty, which united China for the first time. The Xian has a well persevered city wall unlike Beijing, where the old city wall was destroyed. Xian has many tourist attraction like the Terracotta army and Huashan. The food in Xian base on wheat rather than rice which is common in other part of China. Xian has relatively rough terrain and weather for agriculture, which make wheat the main crop that grow in Xian. I like noodle better than rice, so I am have no complain about food in Xian.It is also interesting that Xian contain a quite large amount of Muslim population.

By Lichen Zheng




Beijing is my hometown, and I have a really strong feeling of Beijing. In any aspect, Beijing is one of the best cities in the world. It has a large population and a huge territory, but those are nothing compare with the rich history that Beijing had in the past two thousand years.

Beijing has everything that a big city has, and even more. Beijing was the capital of six dynasties, and sever continuous as the capital of China for four hundred years. The Forbidden City was the palace of the emperor, and summer palace was the garden that built for the emperor. Beijing had the most preserved parts of great wall. You can easily get a huge amount of information about these historical views, but seeing them by your own eye is always different from reading books or watch a video documentary.

However, a simple one-week tour can’t really help people understand and learn about the unique culture of Beijing. People in Beijing are different to any other Chinese, they had their own philosophy of life. I believe that people of Beijing saw too many changes in the past four hundred years, they saw dynasties failed, powerful people dead. They understand that no matter what happened in the Forbidden City or who will rule the empire tomorrow doesn’t matter to them, life goes on and on. People in Beijing simply seek for a peaceful life without seeking for power or luxury. Someone might say that is laziness, but I believe it is wisdom that no one else would understand.

Beijing also have good foods, and many other amazing things that remain unknown to most of the tourist. It is fair to say that Beijing is a city that worth to live for one or a half-year. I live in Beijing for almost 20 years, but it still surprise me sometimes.

By Lichen Zheng


Summer Palace

After breakfast, we went to the Summer Palace, which was basically the emperor’s beach home. It was something straight out of a movie. It actually reminded me of one scene from Star Wars. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be there all alone either. We started playing with a shuttlecock with a local man, so a few people bought one to play with for the rest of the trip. That reminds me, the currency exchange here is insanely favorable to the US dollar. These shuttlecocks were only 75 cents each at a tourist location. Waters are always less than a US dollar, while meals were typically less than 5. Then, we checked out the Temple of Heaven, which was where the emperor would pray. It was awesome to see all of the history that Beijing had to offer. We saw places that the emperor would go hundreds of years ago. We went on a sleeper train to Dalian that night. We had soft sleeper seats. The way this works is that everyone got in a room full of two bunk beds so you could sleep on the train. It was actually really comfortable to sleep in. It came with a pillow and blanket too. We all drank a lot together and had a fun time on the train.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.14.42 AM


On this day, early on in the morning, we flew from Dalian to Xian. Once we got to Xian, we rented bikes for an hour and went on a 14 km ride on a wall that separates the inner city and outer city. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, along with one of my favorite cities. We learned some local dialect from out tour guide. I also learned how cheap Xian is relative to places like Beijing and Shanghai. The sunset during the bike ride was beautiful, and then we went at night to a local fountain show, which is the biggest in all of Asia. This place was called the Big Wild Goose Pagoda North Plaza. Before the show, I got my favorite meal of the entire trip. It was quite simple, and cost less than 30 yuan each (about $4). The meal included a chinese hamburger, a bowl of noodles, and deep fried sticky rice that was topped with brown sugar sauce. The reason we checked this place out was because one of our friends, Steve, knew a friend from Xian who recommended we go there.

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Today, we went to the Rockwell Automation Dalian Facility. There, we heard a presentation about what Rockwell does on a national level. Then, we learned a bit about what the China branch does. After that, we were given a presentation about international business. The woman who gave this presentation told us an interesting joke, which was “people who speak three languages are trilingual; people who speak two languages are bilingual; people who speak one language are Americans.” This joke was funny yet very memorable. I did not realize how privileged Americans are when it comes to learning other languages. In China, virtually every student has to learn English. Even street signs all over Asia are translated in English, which makes life much easier. This speech also made me want to pursue international business in China. I want to learn how to speak the language, despite how difficult that task may prove to be. A career in China or one that commutes to it is one that I am definitely interested in as of today. After the presentations, I was assigned to a group that was led by Bruce. Bruce was a regional manager at Rockwell, and seemed pretty young to be. He said his English name is Bruce because he likes Bruce Lee. He was a pretty cool guy. We got a tour of Rockwell, which had some really nice facilities in it along with a great view. We had lunch nearby the office that was delicious. I talked to Bruce a lot. He told us about the education system and how the price of education actually tends to go down as you get older. He also mentioned how he was the second child of his family, meaning he was a ridiculously high expense for his family at the time. He said he was lucky to live since many second borns were killed off. He also said that the regulation for kids changes a lot (like right now, Chinese people can have two kids without being taxed.) He also mentioned that his father was fired by the government after his birth, which was pretty insane to hear. Bruce seemed to recognize how extreme Chinese culture can be. He also mentioned how he does a lot of business with Americans, so he has to speak a lot of the English language. I also asked him how important learning Mandarin is for international business, and he said that it helps but the culture is just as important. This was a great experience for me since I got to talk to locals of Dalian. Rockwell did us a huge favor by hosting us. After, we went to a cool spot of Dalian. There, there was an amusement park and a great view of a bridge that was just built in the past year. I went on a few rides and had a good time. The scenery was unreal. It looked like we were surrounded by castles. After, we went to a very fancy dinner with Xinli’s friend who is the CEO of a landscape and real estate company. We took a fancy Mercades there. Xinli told us that his friend’s recent deal got him 50,000,000 yuan. The location of the dinner was unreal. Only some of us got to sit with Xinli’s friend, while the others sat with his son. The man could not speak much English, but was very nice to us. We ate great food and had a lot to drink. Xinli’s friend told us a lot of traditional Chinese sayings. One of the dishes at the meal was a whole fish that was given as a gift. Xinli and his friend also exchanged gifts. It seems that the reason that this man hosts all of us is that Xinli paid his son Tom’s phone bills while he was at Penn State. This once again showed the importance of relationships in the Chinese culture. After the dinner, we got a couple booths at a local club. This club was very cool. Girls that worked there were walking around everywhere with bottles and what not. We also danced on the dance floor, which moved to the beat of the song that was playing.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.07.44 AM

Now all of China knows you’re here… Perfect.


While the Yangtze River Cruise was a nice break from the fast-paced activity of the first few weeks, there were still plenty of opportunities to experience China and all of its beauty. During one of the few days it didn’t rain during the cruise, we passed by many other ships and under a couple of bridges. Near one of the bridges was located a couple small lighthouses. Although simplistic in its design, this particular lighthouse showcases China’s engineering ability to build a large enough lighthouse on the side of a river as well as a way for people to easily reach the lighthouse regardless of the river water levels.

— Shane Byers – 5/19/2016

One family reunion coming right up!


No matter how scary and undefined the path forward may be, the most important thing is that you’re on the path and you’re determined to make it through. While visiting the original Wu household and village, we were all able to witness just how different the rural life of China is compared to the hustle and bustle of the city life we had grown accustomed to throughout the first part of the program. I did not expect to have the opportunity given to me to travel to and experience China in the way that I did, but I knew that if I took the path less traveled and persisted through my ambitions, I would be able to conquer the unknown and learn some valuable lessons along the way.

— Shane Byers – 5/27/2016