Saturday May 28, 2016

A Trip to Nanjing

Traveling to another country for the first time is a scary experience, especially if you don’t speak the language. You have trouble ordering your own food or telling a taxi driver where you would like to go. But it’s fun. It’s fun to travel to a place in order to learn all about it, even if you don’t speak the language. It makes you grow up a little, and realize that it’s okay that there will be times in your life when you are absolutely helpless. When I came to China, I didn't’t know what to expect. To be honest, I was terrified to leave the United States for the very first time. It was overwhelming at first, but I slowly fell in love with China. It is such a vibrant place; people honk their horns at each other all of the time, and there are street food carts that sell different types of food. It’s kind of weird to be an American here, everyone stares at you and wants to take pictures with you. It kind of makes me a little uncomfortable at times, because I am no different than the Chinese on the inside. I think that my blond hair makes me stand out even more.

This past weekend, the China Institute traveled to Nanjing. After a three hour bus ride, we stopped at a restaurant to get some food. Thankfully, many of the Chinese students were willing to help us order our food; without them, we would have had to play food roulette, as the menus were all in Chinese. I think that the food in China is incredibly tasty; I am definitely going to miss it when I go back home.

What I will remember most about my time in Nanjing is the day we went to the Nanjing Massacre Museum. We had learned about it in history class, but until I went to the museum it was only something that I read about in my textbook. I suppose that one could say that I was disconnected from it. I was on the verge of tears the entire time I was in that museum. The people who died lost their lives in brutal agony. Their suffering was painful to learn about, but I felt that it would be a disservice to them if I didn't’t. It kept hitting me that the city that I was visiting was soaked in blood at one point and that people died on the ground that I was walking on. It made me sad.

I want to come back to China after my summer experience. There is so much that I haven’t been able to see yet; I feel like I will NEVER have enough time to try all the different types of food here or see all of the different places. I’m fascinated by China and hope many other students have this opportunity!

Alia Whitney, Sophomore, International Studies

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