The Door Opens More than 7,000 Miles Away: Visiting Nanjing

May 24, 2015

My favorite trip was to the city of Nanjing, which is a very modern city, but it still has an ancient feel. It is very distinct from cities like Shanghai because there are huge sycamore and hemlock trees running along the streets, making it feel more like a forest than a city full of skyscrapers. During our stay, we were able to visit Nanjing University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in China.  There, I met several students who I still keep in touch with and plan to invite to my house when they come to America to study. One of the interesting places the students of Nanjing University showed us was a bookstore called Librairie Avant-Garde.  To our surprise, it was built underground in an old parking garage and is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. The experience was amazing, but, afterwards, we went to a traditional style market that sold all kinds of food and gifts. After, we took a boat ride through the old canal system. Other excursions we went on in Nanjing included the Ming Emperors Tomb and the Mausoleum of Sun-Yatsen.  These were both beautiful cultural sites. Overall, these sites made Nanjing close to Beijing as the coolest place in China.

David Borth, Senior, Chemical Engineering

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Taking the Step to Change our Lives Forever: A Trip to Guilin

June 5-7, 2015

Life at the China Institute is a kind of happy and relaxing journey. this is especially true of the weekend travel that takes place. My favorite trip was to Guilin. Because Guilin is quite far from Suzhou, we needed to take a flight from Shanghai to Guilin. So, in order for us to get the most out of th experience, we started our travels on June 5, which was a Friday. This was the only time that we travelled on a Friday, from what I remember. Guilin is a small city, but it is really beautiful. When we arrived there, it was about eleven in the evening; we decided to walk around in downtown Guilin. There was a kind of different feeling when I stood on the streets of Guilin. Guilin is the gathering places of different Chinese minority ethnicities, including Zhuang, Hui, Miao and Yao ethnicities. Because of this, the feeling of the city was very different compared to other cities I have been to. This was a city filled with warmth and friendly people and lots of culture. When I was young, my grandfather always told me: 'Chinese culture is one of the greatest in the world, we have fifty-six ethnicities, and we have more than 5,000 years of history. What you need to do is inherit, protect and develop it.' At that moment, I fell in love with Guilin.

'The water and mountains in Guilin are the best in the world.' This is an old saying in a poem from the Qing Dynasty. Even though the water in the Li River was not really clear on the day we were there, there was still beauty in the murky water.

I love Guilin.

Jiazhang Chen, Sophomore, Engineering Technology

Li River

Guilin is the Asian star in the southwest part of China. There is a poem that says Guilin is the most beautiful city in China because of its unique geographical location. The weather in Guilin is warm but not hot, and it is rich in vegetation. We arrived in Guilin on Friday night. After we checked into the hotel, we couldn't wait to go outside to try to best Guilin food: 'rice noob'. In Guilin, rice noob is a must try. With some soy sauce and specialty dishes of Guilin, rice noob presents a totally different flavor.

On Saturday, we took a cruise on the Li River. Li River is a beautiful river across Guangxi province; there were so many beautiful sceneries on both sides of the river. On this scenic cruise, we enjoyed our lunch and stood on the boy with the wind blowing on our faces; I felt like I really loved this city. In the afternoon, we arrived in Yangshou, a small town of cultural breadth. There are lots of Chinese artists who live in this town to seek out artistic inspiration. Artifacts stores were everywhere. In Yangshou, there are many representations of the modern Chinese art form. We spent the whole night enjoying the town full of people playing music and painting.

On Sunday, we rode bikes to different attractions around Yangshou. It was a lot of fun. The scenery that I had only seen before in movies was right before my eyes. The unique castle terrain and plants in Guilin have a special aesthetic feeling. I love Guilin. This was definitely an unforgettable journey.

Xiao Xu, Freshman, Finance

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Making a Few Life-Long Friends Along the Way: Barbeque with Soochow University

June 14, 2015

On June 14, we had a barbeque with students from Soochow University Business School at Bai Lu Garden, next to Dushu Lake in Suzhou Industrial Park. The weather was perfect – nice sunshine with a gentle breeze. When we arrived at the park, our friends from Soochow University were already there, preparing the food for the barbeque for us. We started off by celebrating Sicheng and Matt’s birthday (two students in the program). Zhang Dong brought two very delicious birthday cakes for them. After that, we did an icebreaker with everyone; we hugged, laughed and got to know our new friends more. In addition, we played a dodge ball game with each other, which was a lot of fun. Members from each team worked together to protect their own ‘Queens’ in the game. After this tiring and tense game, we finally got to the barbeque. It was a little different from what we are used to having in the U.S. – there were Chinese spices on the meat we were barbequing. We had so much food, and it was a great opportunity to interact with local students in Suzhou. In the end, we even had some free ice cream!

Hongwei (Henry) Chen, PhD Student, Electro-Optics

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Becoming a Global Citizen: A Reflection

July 24, 2015

I've stubbed my toe on the Great Wall of China, and, as an American, I think that's one of the coolest sentences I've ever said. I've heard countless friends complain about getting too many emails from the China Institute, but I think a lot of these people have been missing the point. I could not be happier that I took the chance and opportunity to travel across the globe and take classes in China. I got to experience a culture totally different from what I grew up with, eat amazing good, meet fantastic people and go on excursions every weekend that were so wonderful that words would never do them justice. The names of cities like Suzhou, Tongli or Guilin don't mean much when you're in America, but, once you visit these places, you will never forget them.

I am proud to say that I went to China. I'm also ecstatic to have made friends, both Chinese and American, while I studied at the China Institute. I know that these friendships will last me a lifetime. To paraphrase what one of my very good friends said to me in summary of our trip: 'At first, I thought there were many differences between the Chinese and American students. Then, as I got to know people, I came to understand and accept everyone for their differences. As these people became my friends, I realized there is no real difference at all.'

I would recommend studying at the UD China Institute to any student. I honestly believe no better offer will ever come knock at your door.

Amanda Jolly, Senior, International Business Management

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