Wen first visited Chinese University of Mining of Technology before the Number 7 school in Dalian hence I got the impression of Chinese culture first. From the first time stepping on campus there was a complete different feel than Penn State. first of all, most of the buildings and labs don’t even come close to the quality of Penn State however they appreciate the tools they have. Talking to the lab members as well as a few other kids, you can tell how serious schooling is. Naturally we asked if they go out and drink as well as what they do for fun. Their facial expressions said it all as they laughed and said they play basketball and go out to eat for fun. Drinking isn’t in their culture as students, its truly all about studying and doing well in school. Then we went to the school in Dalian and I got a good understanding as to why the Chinese grow up with that mentality. Even as young kids their weekends are full of doing homework. Not to mention the fact that they go to school from about 7 am to 5 pm. Their summer is only about a month as well. The Chinese schooling system is very different, it has its pros and cons but I have never seen people take school/studying more serious in my life. Not too many students come close to the dedication the Chinese students have.
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I can now admit that for the longest time I was completely wrong in stereotyping Chinese drivers as terrible drivers. Little did I know that it takes three times, if not more, skill to drive in China. Despite the fact that we were in two car crashes while on the bus, its okay because most people just keep it moving. There was only about one or two really huge crashes that I saw so I guess thats inspiring. I have never seen someone drive like our bus driver did on the hill down to the cruise. An inch or two separated us getting there safe to being about five feet deep off the road. Not only that, but our drivers in Dalian were insanely skillful. They would be casually hitting about 80-100 swerving in and out of traffic. Not only that but they would even hold conversations. One night in Shanghai our cab driver was easily hitting 100 not caring at all. I envy it because I want to drive like that. I can only imagine how stressful it is coming to America and having to wait and then barely go over 25-35 in some areas. Let alone the fact that you can’t just pull random U-turns, or drive directly across an intersection. Most drivers very rarely care for the pedestrians walking either… there has been numerous times where I’ve been inches to being run over. I’ve come to know that its just a cultural thing because when it happens to the Chinese people they just keep it moving. If it were in the US most people would throw something or yell at the driver.
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After seeing Rockwell Automation and visiting the Ford Plant, i grew a better understanding on what working in China is like. Seeing the vast amount of people in the Ford plant, assigned to do one job every day astonished me. Also, both places kept everything very clean. Thought visiting these sites, i started to think more and more about potentially working in china. Then after visiting the Exxon mobile site, and talking to Xinli’s past student that now works there, i received a lot of inside knowledge on what Chinas like to live and work there. He mentioned the work transition is pretty simple, but the social and living situation is vastly different, and can be tedious at times.
On our free activity day, i went fishing with a couple of friends, and also walked around Huangshan, and tried to experience it on our own, As for the fishing, we didn’t catch anything, but still had a good time doing it. As for walking around Huangshan, we traveled through neighborhoods, wandering aimlessly, but we saw a lot of cool things. We realized theres a “mini muslim street” on the 4th floor of the hotel, and we found a huge “time square” like area 5 minutes from our hotel. From the first impression of Huangshan, it seemed like a small city with not a lot to offer, but once we found the big shopping area, filled with malls, department stores, fancy apparel stores, we realized Huangshan is huge and has a lot to offer.
After Visiting Xinli’s Village and his mothers house, i grew a greater understanding on how people live outside the cities. I realized that these places are semi-self-sustained. When it comes to food they have some chickens and ducks roaming around, as well as vast amount of farmland. As for jobs, one thing i saw was silk worms, which I’m guessing people made silk garments with them. The food Xinli’s family prepared was also amazing, from the ducks neck to the shrimp.
The cuisine in China is a bit different than the US. This is greatly portrayed on Muslim street, where they have live scorpions on skewers, skinned lizards, live snakes, and a lot more interesting and weird animals on sticks. Now this isn’t traditional Chinese food per say, but it curtailing is a strange thing to come by, and eat. I tried the fried seahorse, expecting it too taste like a fish, except it tasted like cardboard, and was hander than rock. Some of the dinners we’ve already have eating, also have some weird aspects to them. Im guessing Chinese people like to eat fat because the meats are very fatty. Also duck is a big thing here, from ducks neck to peking duck.
Tienamin Square is a lot larger than i expected it to be. I believed it to be 10-20 acres large, but i found out its over 100 acres big. This is also the first place i realized that some of the locals in China have never seen foreigners before, so they were amazed when they saw a group of 40 foreigners, taking pictures and videos of us every chance they got. The forbidden city is one of the largest structures I’ve ever seen. Walking through it, after every square, i was thinking the whole time “there cant possibly be more.” To my amazement it kept on going, I learned that the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. I also learned that it is the center of Beijing, and the city grows outward.
Chongqing was a city that made a lasting impression on me. When we first disembarked from the cruise and arrived at the port, my first impressions of the city were pretty poor. The air quality was visibly worse than that of other cities, and the river was also polluted and dirty. It wasn’t until later in the evening, after I indulged in a Chongqing specialty, hotpot, that I came to realize the greatness of the city. At night, buildings illuminated the city and the riverside was lively. After spending just one night, I began to know why Chongqing in one of the fastest growing and most populated cities in china.
Visiting the Three Gorges Dam was something I was looking forward to since I decided to take this class. During my first year seminar, I learned a lot about the design and the great effort it took to build this dam. It generates an astonishing 98.8 terawatt-hours of energy and is the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. Another cool aspect of the dam was the 5 stage elevator that we were able to sail through. In each stage of the elevator, water was flooded into the lock to lift the boats to sail through into the next stage. Being able to sail through the dam was a great opportunity that I will not soon forget.
The Terracotta Warriors to me were an excellent display of the ability of ancient Chinese artists. They were originally created to defend the emperor in the afterlife. Now they serve as a museum and a look into ancient Chinese art. The warriors were actually well preserved, with most of the damaged ones coming from a peasant uprising. Even with today’s modern art techniques and technology, this would be a long and arduous process as each individual warrior had an unique face. Some even were decorated with real weapons. These warriors are a true testament to Chinese art.