A Travellerspoint blog

Snowing in Beijing

It recently started to snow in Beijing! Today especially it's been pretty heavy and nonstop. On the rodes and sidewalks it's all slush l, puddles, or ice, but in the areas with less travelers it isn't too icky. :)

I was out exploring some of the hutongs today and got some nice photos of the city in snow!

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Posted by VerityCCheslo 04:36 Comments (1)

Memories From Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Wuzhen

Or Alternatively: A Tale of Many Boat Rides

As part of our class retreat we also visited the cities of Hangzhou and SuZhou and a small Colonial Williamsburg style tourist town named Wuzhen. The great part about this part of our journey was that we got to see the more natural side of China. We visited many flower gardens,, a wetlands teserve, Tiger Hill, and the famous West Lake which you can find on the back of a one yuan bill. Personally I g I understand the wetlands reserve to be really nostalgic of many marsh like state parks and nature reserves in NJ.

Many of these locations involved water and as you may have gathered from the title that meant we took many boat rides. In 2 1/2 days I road on five boats. Each ride was an enjoyable experience. I think part of the convienience of the boats was that they made it easier to keep moving roughly 40 people around. :)

Also there is a picture of me holding our tour guide's flag. For reasons still unknown guided tie groups are all the rage in China. At any make historical site you will see many throngs of tourists surrounding one or more tour guides carrying colorful pendants to ensure the group can find them and shouting into portable speakers. Our tour guide had at one point asked me to hold her pendant while she went to purchase tickets so if course I have a photo ;)

And finally here are the many photos:

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Posted by VerityCCheslo 04:44 Comments (1)

Being Prepared for Host Family Q&A Sessions

Hello All,

I’ve now been living with my Beijing host family for a couple of weeks. Yay! They are all very warm, friendly, helpful, and open. I am so excited to spend even more time with them. Whenever students are thinking about host families they probably don’t think about some of the interesting question they will receive. When I first came to China I was much shyer and I didn’t have very good speaking skills so my previous family and I didn’t really deviate from the standard questions about hobbies etc. however, this year my family and I have been able to have some very interesting conversations.
For those of you who are American’s hoping to study abroad you should realize that you will be questioned on everything and anything. You should definitely prepare for this before you come to China or any other country  This is an outline of topics and questions that I have discussed with my family in the last three weeks. The outline is supposed to show the threads of how one question can easily lead to another. I would not have imagined I would even be able to discuss these topics in Chinese when I was back in America.

1. School

(a) How is home education legal
(b) What is every step of the American college application process like?
1. Do you think the SAT is harder than the Gao Kao (Chinese College Entrance Exam)?
(c) Is American education better than a Chinese education?
1. Which is easier?
(d) Why don’t you want to go to a Chinese college?
(e) Aren’t many college majors useless now?
1. What do you think is the least useless major?

2. Food
(a) Do American’s eat this?
(b) Are you Pescatarian/ Vegetarian because you are Muslim? What about Jewish?
1. Why don’t Muslims and Jewish people eat pork?
2. Why don’t they drink alcohol?
3. Do you know many Muslim and Jewish people?
4. Do you think ISIS is bad?
(c ) Why do you always drink cold drinks?
1. You caught a cold because you drank cold water, didn’t you?

3. Politics
(a) Do you like Obama?
(b) Do you like Hillary Clinton?
(c ) Can you vote?
1. Will you vote for Hillary?
2. What are American voting laws like anyways?
(d) Do you think that American economics are picking up?
1. How exactly did the 2008 financial crisis work?
(e) Do you know who Mao is?
(f) Do you know who Vladimir Putin is?
(g) Do you like to watch TED Talks too? Let’s watch one about N. Korea.
1. What is your opinion on N. Korea?

4. Life Skills
(a) Do you think China’s traffic is worse than New Jersey’s.
1. Can you drive?
2. How expensive are driving classes?
3. How Expensive is your Dad’s car?
(b) We want your sister to learn CPR so that if there is an emergency one of us can do something. Can you do CPR?
1. Why do you know CPR and First Aid?
2. How does CPR work anyway?
3. Please demonstrate how to do CPR.
4. Do all American schools have multiple defibrillator?
(c) Do you have a credit card?
1. Is it normal for teenagers to have a credit card?
2. Do you like using cards or cash?

5. Crime
(a) Q: What is America’s most dangerous city?
A: I think Detroit but let me check…. Wow! It’s actually Camden NJ. I live really close to there.
Q: Is it really scary.
A: If you go to the bad parts it would probably be scary.
(b) Is Camden dangerous because it has many African Americans?
1. How does a person’s race affect their socioeconomic status and were they live?
2. How does a person’s location and socioeconomic status effect their education?
3. How could all of this lead to them joining a gang?
(c) Do you know about any American gangs?
1. Why do some wear red and some wear blue?
2. How do gangs work?

6. Housing
(a) How much does your house cost?
(b) Did you know that since Chinese homes are so expensive many students can’t afford to live in the cities?
1. Is it the same in the US?

Basically be prepared for anything and everything, especially if you have an above beginner speaking level. If you’re in the US now waiting to move abroad maybe you should look up how much a car costs! Even if you think you’ve researched everything there will probably still be a question that will throw you for a loop 

Posted by VerityCCheslo 21:23 Comments (3)

She Been Shanghai'd

(Or My Half Day Adventure in Shanghai)

Our School is going on a four day long trip to four cities the week before midterms! As excited as I am for the trip I am highly confused by the timing...

We took a five hour train trip from Beijing to Shanghai which was pretty relaxing and then ran through the city all afternoon and well into the night. Shanghai is so beautiful! I love the bright lights and lively atmosphere! I hope I get to come back for a longer period of time!

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Thanks to my friend Helena for an awesome day out and lots of photo taking help; )

Posted by VerityCCheslo 07:15 Comments (3)

Halloween

Slightly late but Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a bit of a new holiday in China with children to young adults just staring to celebrate it. Candy, cute costumes, and spooky decorations are becoming gradually more common each year. I think part of the appeal is just the silliness and fun of the holiday! Must Chinese people I talked with have no idea about the origins of the holiday. They often ask where it even came from a it is so strange, still many stores and restaurants in Beijing geared up for the holiday with spiderwebs, pumpkins, and witch hats galore!

Our school had a Halloween party for the intentional students which was quite fun! Halloween night my sister and I visited Hou Hai a popular park and restaurant district to look at costumes and decorations. Afterwards we finished the night by watching The Nightmare Before Christmas :)

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Thanks for everyones supportive comments! They mean a lot to me evertime I read them :)

Posted by VerityCCheslo 06:55 Comments (1)

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