The two weeks spent in China have been 2 of the most fun weeks I’ve had in my life. I would recommend Plus3 to any freshman or prospective student. It was truly an amazing experience. Starting out with a group of kids that I didn’t really know at all (except Benji) and becoming friends with them in another country was such a great experience. I had been fortunate enough to travel abroad before this trip, but China has only added to my wonderful experiences abroad and widened my cultural knowledge. being honest, before going on this trip I didn’t read anything about the Chinese culture or do any research. I wanted to go in cold turkey and experience everything without having any expectations. I can now say that I think that was a great way to go about my trip. There were very many differences between China and the US. This included China having smog, which I was at all used to seeing. It was strange to wake up in Beijing and not see a blue sky or clouds. It was just gray. It was also very interesting to see how quiet and clean the people were. Everyone was so respectful of one another and their surroundings. It was a nice change from America considering how obnoxious and ignorant people can be. In addition to the people being clean, the streets and public places were spotless. There was no litter or trash anywhere which was also a nice change since we are so used to seeing people throw their trash wherever they please. I also couldn’t believe how green the cities were. They had so many flowers and plants all over the place it felt like anywhere there was an opening they had planted something there. It was pleasing to the eye to see so many flowers around the cities. Another thing that really stood out to me was how well the traffic moved. People walking and driving all sorts of things all moved together in harmony like it was nothing out of the ordinary. I can’t imagine how bad it would be in the US if we implemented rules that allowed all of those things on the road at once so I give the Chinese people props for being able to do that so effectively and efficiently. One thing I really didn’t like was that they always serve hot drinks. While this wasn’t bad, I missed being able to drink ice water or something cold with my meals that wasn’t soda. I found it strange that not many people wore shorts even though it was extremely hot outside. Many people wore long pants and jackets and I don’t know how they didn’t overheat in that weather. It was interesting to learn about student life and how they spend all their time in the library and are required to do PE classes because we don’t do that in the US. It was weird thinking about prices of things as they always appeared so high and then having to divide by 6.
I also enjoyed all of the cultural visits we went on and would recommend them to anyone and everyone. The Great Wall and Terra-Cotta Warriors were unbelievable, but the country of China had so much history that no one really talks about in the US. They have dynasties that go back hundreds of years and a city that became a global powerhouse in 30 years (Shanghai). The country, culture, and people are extremely impressive and to be able to visit the country is an experience I now believe everyone should try to have. I also found first-hand that they really like Americans and it felt pretty cool to be treated like a celebrity. However, celebrity feelings aside, I learned how important we are to them and how important they are to us. It was great to see how businesses operate there and to have that opportunity at such a young age in my college career. Especially as a business student, it was awesome to see global business and how everything works in a place so far and so different from home. This trip was one of the greatest and most valuable experiences I’ll probably ever have in my life and I am extremely grateful to have been able to grow as an individual, student, and business professional over my 2 weeks spent immersed in the Chinese culture. I hope to be able to return to China someday.