The first days...
Observations from Caroline, a Biology student studying in China
China is a pretty exciting place. Upon arriving you find the bustle of the crowds and the speaking in foreign tongues a bit overwhelming. Once the jet lag has left you begin to think of it all as more of a puzzle which you are excited to solve. Within the first two days the class decided to venture together to the 798 Arts District. Just getting there became quite the adventure. The experience of having the group go from point a to b really helps bring our group of ten Penn State students closer and we all felt a sense of accomplishment working out the transit systems without the assistance of a translator.
The class so far has been very exciting. My favorite part is definitely the group discussions which occur later in the afternoon. Two of us from Penn State (Mike and I) were paired with four other local students who attend either PKU or Beijing Medical School. The local students have been really excited to work with us not only to learn about the topics but also to get a sense of American culture. One girl even asked me, “if life in the United States was just like the reality television shows?” I responded by saying “I hope we are not that dramatic, but you can judge for yourself!”
The feel to the university is very similar to Penn State. They both have the large campus appeal with the home-like atmosphere. The beautiful traditional Chinese architecture alongside the pond front area creates a serene and almost mystical place to just review the day’s happenings. Some evenings I find myself just walking around campus to have a nice chat with a classmate.
Overall, I would say the first week has been a great success and I’m looking forward to what the next few days will hold.