During the night at our hotel, we experienced a little unexpected excitement as the local police subjected our floor to a random security check. It wasn’t something that any of us had ever been through before. The police went from room to room checking passports and as well as Chinese Nationals’ IDs to ensure that the guests who were staying at the hotel matched the registrations on file. In the morning we were notified that the security checks were attributed to the upcoming G20 2016 China Summit that was going to be held in September. We were amazed that the Chinese Government would begin its security precautions this early on in advance of the Summit and that they had extra measures put in place at all area hotels, malls, and tourist attractions.
Next, we began our morning by visiting the headquarters of the Wanxiang Group – one of China’s leading developers in clean energy and transportation. The Wanxiang Group, a multinational conglomerate, operated under the principle of “big group strategy, small business accounting, capital management and international operation.” Once inside, we were greeted by company division leaders and given an overview of their newest projects and then led on a tour of the facilities. As part of the tour we were able to see the showroom of new energy efficient, luxury cars, included among which was a model to be released in January at a cost of $120,000 (USD). We also were able to see how the building was being powered completely by solar power with thousands of panels located on the roof of the building.
After having some lunch at a local restaurant, we made our way back to the hotel and broke into small groups to complete our evaluations of the program. With the evaluations completed everyone returned to their rooms to wash clothes and pack up their belongings, as tonight would be our last in Hangzhou.
Later, all of the chaperones, student ambassadors, and leaders had changed into their evening attire and headed to the hotel ballroom for our farewell and closing ceremony. The bittersweet ceremony was filled with heartfelt words from our Chinese friends and colleagues. Each student also received a certificate of completion from Beijing Foreign Studies University, Hangzhou Polytechnic University, and the China-United States Exchange Foundation.
The ceremony did not go without some tears being shed, especially during the slideshow presentation put together by the Chinese student ambassadors. The presentation did an excellent job of capturing the precious memories from throughout our week in Hangzhou. The ceremony continued with a performance of “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” by Dr. Darnell Williams, executive vice president of Philander Smith College; a goodbye song led by our Chinese colleagues; a performance of Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” by some of the HBCU students; a farewell speech given in Mandarin by recent Morgan graduate Janee Devis; and finally a song performed by Morgan chaperone Dr. Guangming Chen and our Chinese hosts Libby, Vivian and Nancy.
By the end of the night, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Following an exchange of hugs, we all participated in some American and Chinese line dances followed by karaoke performances by the HBCU students. As the evening wound down, we departed to go our separate ways and hoped our paths would cross again with our new friends. The next morning we would be off to Shanghai, “China’s New York City.”