Day 9: Performances in a Classroom & in a Theater

After the great university visit in Beijing, I was excited to see the university in Shanghai and meet some more students! The East China University of Science and Technology was about an hour bus ride away. The visit started off with a lecture from a professor. I was expecting the lecture to be something related to science or technology due to the name of the school, however the professor who gave the lecture introduced herself as a business professor. Professor Huang then spoke about the history of China, as well as its economy and a few political factors affecting China. I found her explanation of the different level cities in China helpful because before I didn’t know what people meant when they referred to something as a “tier 1 city.”

Once the insightful lecture concluded, a group of students studying English came into the classroom and each one called two of our names. Fodun and I were paired with Angela, and she was so nice! We walked around the campus for a bit and it was sooo hot and very sunny, and then we went to get lunch together at one of the dining halls at the university. I had dumplings and they were so good, I was really impressed by the quality of the food at the school. While we were eating, Angela asked us about some common English phrases that don’t really make sense to people who are not native English speakers (she asked us about what it means to “play it by ear”). Before this conversation, I had never really thought about how odd some of the phrases we say all the time sound if English is not your first language.

After lunch we got some ice cream at a convenience store. They had a ton of different flavors that you don’t see in the states, so I got a cappuccino flavor. As we ate our ice cream we made our way back to the main building that we started the day in to do an activity with the university students.

The first activity that we did involved passing a toy around while music was playing. When the music stopped, whoever was holding the toy would have to go up to the front of the classroom and perform something for the rest of us, so like sing a song or tell a joke. I think most people were a little nervous at first and everyone was hoping the music wouldn’t stop when they were holding the toy, but it ended up being really fun and everyone was laughing the whole time! Ryan was the first one to go up, and he sang the national anthem and we all joined in at the end so it was a good start to all the performances. I actually never had to go up so that was a bit of a relief!

We did another activity where we were in teams and someone on your team says something unique that they’ve done. If no one on your team has done the same thing then you lose a point and you keep going until there’s just one team left. It was a little complicated to get started, but we eventually got the hang of it. After we finished the game, we said goodbye to the university students and left to go back to the hotel. I added Angela on WeChat so I’ll still be able to keep in touch with her when I come back to the US!

There was a good bit of time in the afternoon before the acrobatics show, so my project group worked on our presentation for a bit in the hotel. After that, we had dinner and got on the bus for the show! While we were on the bus, someone started playing music out loud on their phone and everyone started singing along so the bus ride kind of became a karaoke party. We were all just laughing and singing and having a good time before we even got to the show.

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Our seats in the theater were in such a great spot, and the show was absolutely incredible. I was so glad that I decided to go since it was just an optional activity so not everyone went. The acrobats were insanely talented and I was extremely impressed by their coordination and flexibility. One of the best parts of the show was when my friend Jared volunteered to go on stage and have knives thrown at him. The performers didn’t actually throw knives at him though! They blindfolded him when they “threw” the knives but really they just placed them on the board behind him, but since he was blindfolded he genuinely thought they were being thrown at him. It was really funny, and eventually we showed him the video so that he knew he was never in any real danger.

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Once the show ended, we decided to skip taking the bus back to the hotel to walk around Shanghai instead. We didn’t even stop at any stores or shops or anything, ultimately we just walked back to the hotel, but I loved seeing Shanghai at night. We walked through a park and although it was dark, it was still really nice. Even though we were just walking a few miles back to the hotel, the group that I was with made the walk fun and I don’t think there was a moment of silence between all of us the whole way back. I’m really loving Shanghai, and I can’t believe that its coming to an end in just a few days.

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