China in the 21st Century
Excitement rushed through my body as my flight departed from Houston to Beijing. I had no idea what was in store for me on the other side of the world. However, I knew that Beijing would be different. What I didn’t know was that Beijing was like a whole new country compared to Texas. Outlines of the Great Wall and villages residing in the mountains resonated as my plane flew by China. It was an incredible site to see. When I first stepped foot outside the plane, all I saw was smog on the outside. This confirmed my pollution expectation for China. As I arrived to Beijing Foreign Studies University, it was very exciting to see the BFSU students walk the streets, play sports, and this reminded me of my college campus. My American RAs shocked me when they spoke fluent Mandarin. I had experienced culture shock for the first two days. The atmosphere was different as I faced a semi-language barrier and I had not known the directions of where to go. The introduction of “squat” toilets also surprised me. It was interesting seeing the large difference in the standard and culture of everyday life from the U.S. and that of China’s. On the first night, I had a family style meal and experienced one of the most delicious Chinese cuisine I had ever had. The fried eggplant, egg tomatoes, and kung pao chicken relived my weariness of jet lag. One of my favorite activities was when I had to meet a random student and get to know that student. I met a girl named Cathy, and we were both interested in each other’s culture. I ended up helping her practice her English for an upcoming oral exam and she helped me discover the best food joints. I was excited as I had made my first foreign friend. The venture through the Forbidden City was worth the soreness and tiredness. The history and scenery at this amazing architecture was breathtaking. Today is the fourth day that I had been in China, and my cultural shock has been diminished. It is incredible assimilating myself into the culture where I learned how to bargain in Mandarin, take the subway across town, and trying food that I had never experienced before!