As we awoke from a good night’s rest at Wanxiang Polytechnic University, the campus was alive as students of all nationalities gathered within the university’s Foreign International Exchange Center. We started our morning with a campus tour covering the 170,000 square meter area located next to the beautiful Xixi National Wetland Park. Next, we had our first morning lecture on China’s economic development by Dr. Qiao Lui. During his lecture, we learned about the transformation of China from a closed government-controlled economy to its ongoing development into an open market economy. This was particularly interesting as it was revealed that China has created multiple five-year plans to increase its growth. Currently, the Chinese government is in its thirteenth five-year plan that includes the “One Belt, One Road” economic belt known as the 21st century Silk Road.
After learning about the history and future of China’s economic development as it seeks to become a world super power, we traded in our seats in a classroom for physical activity in the campus gym. On the agenda next was a Martial Arts workshop that taught us the traditional style of Wushu (Wu = military and Shu = techniques). At its core, Wushu is a masterful blend of physical health and spiritual power with combat movements. By the end of this session we all believed we were ready for battle and wanted to try out our newly learned techniques.
Finally, we ended the day with a dough sculpturing class. Our instructor was Jichu LOU, a senior pastry chef with extensive experience in dough sculpture making and demonstration. He’s showcased this traditional Chinese art form to people from all over the world. Equipped with a number materials and tools, including white flower (dyed in many colors) and scissors, our instructor demonstrated to us how to make a design and create a panda bear eating bamboo. After he showed us step-by-step, it was now our turn to create our own masterpiece sculptures. At the end of the session, instructor LOU selected the three best sculpture creations, one of which belonged to Morgan student, Maya Tyler. After getting an opportunity to display our panda bear sculptures, we all headed back to the hotel to satisfy our craving for pizza.