Saturday January 10, 2015

Welcome Lunch to Kick-Off the Start of the Spring Program

Our first lunch after landing in Suzhou was a traditional meal served at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. During a traditional meal, all of the dishes are shared with the entire table and eaten with only a spoon or chopsticks, which I am terrible at using. Being in a new place, I decided to be adventurous and sit at a table with all Chinese students, none of whom I knew. All of the Chinese students were so nice to me; they talked to me throughout the meal and showed me how to use the chopsticks the correct way and then proceeded to laugh with me at my failed attempts. Then as each food was brought out, they would tell me what it was and let me try it first. I was also informed that all of the food in Suzhou is sweet, while in different parts of the country it is spicy or has a different distinguishing flavor, kind of how different parts of the U.S. are known for different foods. It was a great experience to step out of my comfort zone by sitting with students I didn't know and trying all of the foods I would normally refrain from.

- Lauren Schmitz, Sophomore, Civil Engineering

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