My last day in China was so busy and so bittersweet that I am writing the blog for it three days later.
Thursday night into Friday, I got the best sleep I had all trip (probably because I was finally used to the twelve hour time difference). I woke up refreshed and excited for another day in Shanghai, but my mood quickly changed when I realized it was my last day.
We met in the lobby and made our way to the Yu Garden Friday morning. When we arrived, we had to walk through some streets with a bunch of markets and vendors, which was fun because I’m a sucker for souvenirs and all things shiny. Upon entering the Yu Garden itself, we were surrounded by beautiful greenery, rocks, and water. I could have spent all day there because it was so pretty and tranquil. I was sure to take lots of pictures and to really enjoy my time in the garden, knowing in the back of my mind that this was the last visit on the last day in China.
Following our tour of the Yu Garden, we were given some free time to explore the markets and to do any final shopping. I bought a few more souvenirs as gifts for friends, but mostly just looked around. I really enjoyed free time like this where I got to interact with the locals and explore my surroundings.
With the Yu Garden visit done and over, it was time to finish up our business proposal group project. Once back at the hotel, my group finalized our presentation and rehearsed it. I then went back to the Mexican restaurant near our hotel with Jordan for lunch. I had the taco salad again because it was just so good, haha!
Up next were presentations. We walked to a nearby hotel and went to a conference room where each group would present their business proposal based on an opportunity we noticed during our time in China. My group presented first; Our proposal was an augmented reality app, similar to Pokemon Go, that allows users to view and post tags at historical and cultural sights around China. This would facilitate multi-cultural learning and communication via a social media platform. The other groups created app-based companies focusing on customized travel guides, bartering and online purchasing, and a clothes washing service.
Having finished our presentations, we walked to a restaurant for our farewell dinner. We sat at two huge round tables (15 people per table) for our final lazy Susan meal together. We were joined by the CEO of the Asia Institute, which was nice. Surprisingly, the food wasn’t completely Chinese, as there seemed to be more of a mediterranean barbecue flavor to the different meats. The food was delicious, and I was definitely the most full I had been the whole trip! The Asia Institute gave each of us a scroll as a gift. Mine is red and yellow with 100 happiness. In Chinese culture, 100 means eternity, thus my scroll means eternal happiness.
The farewell dinner officially marked the end of the trip, but we still had several hours left in Shanghai. Many of my classmates and I went out to celebrate our trip, and it was a ton of fun!
I honestly cannot believe how quickly these last two weeks have gone by. I want to thank Dr. Li, Jordan, the Asia Institute, and my classmates for such an incredible experience! This was my first time out of the country, and it has certainly inspired me to travel more. ‘Til next time, China!