Monday, March 19, 2018
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Day 3 | Exploring the Forbidden City

Today, we woke up to a foggy morning and a sky full of rain clouds. At our morning lecture on Chinese Philosophy, Associate Professor Shen Yiwen of the School of English for Specific Purpose at Beijing Foreign Studies University shared with us that having rain in the summer in Beijing is considered “Good Luck.” With that in mind, we looked past our rain boots and umbrellas and made like sponges, absorbing as much knowledge as possible.

During our first lecture, we discussed the teachings of famed Chinese philosophers such as Confucius, Laozi, and Sunzi, and attempted to answer some of life’s more thought-provoking questions such as: What is the World?, How is the World?, Why is the World?, Who am I?, Where Am I from?, and Where I am going? We also were fascinated in learning the magical story of Pangu and the Theory of the Yin and Tang. For our second lecture, we dove into China’s Foreign Policy, and the United States and China relations. Many of us were already up to speed on several current events affecting both countries. Our instructor XIE Tao, professor of political science and associate dean at the School of English and International Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, enlightened us to Chinese perceptions of the United States foreign policies, the future of US-China relations, and the potential impact of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

After a fulfilling lunch in the campus canteen, we explored the student services building with its many little shops and stores. Given the continuous downpour of rain, our visit to Tiananmen Square was postponed and we instead made our way to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the time of the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, a time span of almost 500 years. Located at the center of Beijing the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 180 acres. After touring the Emperor’s massive estate, we hopped on our bus and made our way to the local shopping mall where we saw some familiar brand names as well as some new brands that caught our eye.

After a long day, we were ready to get to our hotel and shower and change into relaxing clothes and bond with each other over games. We played Uno, spades, Connect Four, and even threw a good old fashion HBCU Pool Party. Even though it was still raining outside, we drew hope and inspiration from that famous line from the musical Annie – “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!”

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