Sunday, November 19, 2017
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Day 5 | Learning the Language

The next morning, the tune we sang went from Annie’s, “The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow” to “You brought the Sunshine,” by the Clark Sisters. Finally, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the cloudy sky. Before heading into the classroom we posed outside for several pictures on the campus. It was our first time being outdoors without it raining for past three days. Our first lecture, which was on Intercultural Communication, was given by Xuefei Chen, associate professor of Diplomacy at China Foreign Affairs University.

It was an amazing experience as we discussed Chinese characters vs. alphabetic writing and cultural festivals. There were several striking differences when learning about the variety of Chinese culture within the country. Most notably, we learned about the Mosuoi Community (the Women’s Kingdom). In their culture, the women lead the family as well as the community and the word “father” doesn’t exist in their dialect, only the word for “mother.” Our second lecture was on the Chinese Language taught by professor Lei Sun, who taught us how to greet someone, how to ask someone their name and tell them our name, and lastly, how to say goodbye. By the end of our lecture, we couldn’t wait to travel off campus to test our new knowledge of the language with the people we encountered.

After another traditional Chinese lunch at the campus canteen, we were notified that we were going to be unable to travel to the Great Wall of China. This was a huge disappointment to each one of us on the trip as this was the one major experience we were all waiting for. Due to the massive amount of rainfall, landslides had blocked travel routes to the mountainous area north of the city of Beijing where the Great Wall is located. Although this was a blow to our plans, the group made the best of our limited time in the city of Beijing and we went to visit the National Museum of China, which houses many of the country’s national treasures dating back to more than 2,000 years ago. After touring the National Museum we took a short walk to Tiananmen Square where we visited the People’s Monument and other historic landmarks. As the day came to a close, the realization began to set in that there was only one more day left in Beijing and soon, we would be saying goodbye.

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