Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 13

We did not have any activities planned for this morning, so most of us used this precious time to catch up on our sleep and pack our things. Later in the afternoon, a few of us went downtown to grab lunch at McDonald's and do our last minute shopping. At night, we attended a farewell party that the Shaoguan students prepared for us. The farewell party was a bittersweet celebration filled with singing, dancing, and even some games! We all exchanged gifts with our buddies and said our goodbyes.  It was a wonderful sendoff that I think everyone enjoyed.

My time at Shaoguan University has been a fantastic experience that I'll never forget. I've made a lot of lifelong friends, and I know others have too. Even though we are sad to leave, it is time to move on and take part in another adventure. For now, we're off to Beijing!

-Danielle Herdegen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 12

Hello Again!

Well we are winding down to our last few days here at the University. We started our usually day with meeting up with our buddies and going to breakfast. Today we had the best breakfast which consisted of Chinese bread and noddles. I know most of us would be fine with eating that everyday. After breakfast we went to our last class here. The class was about Chinese culture by Song Weihua another professor from the school of Foreign Languages. She talked about four great Chinese inventions, kung-fu, calligraphy, script, and general attractions around Beijing. After our lecture we continued to lunch and then went to go practice for the farewell party which is tomorrow. Our farewell party will consist of dancing, singing, kung-fu, and games. It will be a mix of us as well as our Chinese students putting it on. 

This afternoon we have free-time, so I am off to play some sports with the international students as well as the Chinese buddies.

Day 11

Hello everyone!

We started today with breakfast and a class on the differences in culture and communication between China and the U.S.  I think the differences in teaching styles was apparent right away - the professor read the content off of a PowerPoint and we were expected to follow along and pay attention.  I think everyone, including our Chinese buddies, found this a little tiresome.  Later in the class, the professor allowed us time to discuss the differences we've observed so far.  This is when we really started talking - good old American style discussion.

After lunch and a much needed noon nap, we got the chance to visit China Mobile, China's largest cell phone provider, where we were able to see the technology that China mobile has come up with to use your cell phone to control your home, your purchases, and even the city lights in Shaoguan.  After visiting China Mobile, we visited an aluminum factory where we donned our hard hats for a tour of the facility.  The campus of the company was huge with room for employee dorms, multiple aluminum facilities, and a new pharmaceutical building.

When we returned to campus, we had a dinner of dumplings and sticky rice balls with sweet fillings.  After eating, we had a chance to make our very own dumplings.  Right after watching some dumpling making, me and another student, along with our buddies, left to practice a dance we will perform at the farewell party in two days.  Eeeek! We better get practicing!

Tomorrow and the next day we will get more free time with our buddies to live as the Chinese live.  I'm excited to see what my buddy does everyday and get some last minute shopping done in Shaoguan!

As the Chinese would say, "have a good rest!"

-Ashley Krautkramer, marketing major

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 10

Hello everyone! Today we finally got to sleep in which was really nice.  We got up around 10 and then met our buddies to head into the city for morning tea.  We all took the city bus to the city center and made our way into the restaurant.  It was in the upstairs of a building and was quite elegant inside.  We started the brunch with tea and then had various breakfast foods such as dumplings, spring rolls, sweet rolls, etc.  We all enjoyed this experience very much.  Following brunch, we bummed around town for a while and some of the students were looking for soccer jerseys.  After a while, it was time to go back to the school so we could attend our two classes.  We attended calligraphy and kung fu today.  We had to turn in our calligraphy because our buddies are going to make something special with our work.  After calligraphy, it was time for kung fu...although, this is not my favorite activity as I am more artistic rather than athletic.  After kung fu, it was time for dinner...and we were all very, very hungry. We had a typical dinner of rice, veggies, and various meat entrees.  We also got Coke and Fanta which was delicious!  After dinner, a few of us went to the market to get a few snacks and some soda and then it was time for badmitton.  We all played matches against each other and it was incredibly fun...I love to play badmitton.  After this, it was time to go home.  Over all, it was a great day and we all look forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 9

Hello everyone! Today was a busy, yet fun-filled day.  We started our day off with some breakfast in the cafeteria.  We all enjoyed various breads and some noodles.  After breakfast, we attended a lecture on the similarities and differences between Chinese and American culture.  The professor also showed us a video of a typical Chinese wedding, so that was really interesting to view.  Since it rained today, the campus orienteering activity was canceled, so we all went into the city to eat at McDonald’s and shop after our daily rest time.  In the city, we went into various shops looking for warmer clothes and trendy boots.  I have also been looking for a Chinese lantern as well, but I think I will have better luck in Beijing in a few days.  We enjoyed our McDonalds dinner….it is nice to have something familiar to eat every once in a while…  We also went to a tea shop that our friend here, Stella and her family own.  The tea was absolutely amazing and her parents were very nice.  We got to ask a lot of questions and her parents were very open with us.  Luckily, we had many intelligent translators who could make conversation possible between her parents and the group.  Following tea, we walked back to the bus stop and are all now back in our dorms.  The days here are very busy and we got really tired.  I look forward to tomorrow…we will begin with morning tea!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 8

Hello! Here's an update on what we did today.

This morning we played team bonding games with our Chinese buddies.  We split up into three teams of 12 and played four different games.  The first game is a little bit difficult to describe, so please bear with me.  First, each team took multiple sections of newspaper and spread it out on the floor.  Then, we each used packaging tape to stick each section together.  Eventually, we brought the two ends together to make a circle.  The goal of the game is to make a "wheel" of newspaper, where six people are standing inside of the wheel and need to move to the other side of the room.  (Imagine a hamster inside of a wheel.)  Once we got to the other side, we had to switch with our other teammates, so that they could race to the other side.  We found it difficult to make the newspaper sturdy enough to stand on, but luckily my team won the race!

The other three games were the human knot, a balloon race, and an 11-legged race (12 people with their ankles tied together!)

Later that afternoon, we went to visit a local elementary school.  We split up into six groups to visit different classrooms.  Kate, Nate, and I went to a classroom that was very energetic!  It turns out that it was just about time for their gym class, so we accompanied them outside to the courtyard.  We played badminton, basketball, and even jump rope with them.

Shortly after our elementary school visit, we hopped back on the coach and went to an industrial area.  We toured a leather factory that is based out of Hong Kong.  It was very interesting to see the long process it takes for each type of bag or purse.  Unfortunately, due to regulations, the company was unable to tell us where they distributed these goods.

By this time we were starving-or at least I was!  We went to a local restaurant and experienced the "hot pot."  There is literally a hot pot in the middle of the table with food surrounding it (similar to our fondue style).  There is a broth premixed in the pot and you can add whatever you like to the pot.  Many of us students felt like this was one of our best meals!  I personally enjoyed the noodles, rice, and tofu filled with pork.  I was even a little adventurous and tried chicken stomach!

Now, we are resting in our rooms and off to bed.  We'll write more tomorrow! 


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 7

Hi everyone!

Today we went on a full day excursion to Danxiashan Mountain (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).  From the second we arrived, we were climbing up the mountain.  At one point, Nate (a fellow UWEC student) counted 1500 steps!  He soon lost track after that.  There were many rest stops along the way up-not only because we needed the rest, but also because the scenery was incredibly beautiful and of course, we needed to take photos.  Some of the steps were so steep that we were actually hunched over while walking up!  The view from the top was breathtaking.  Pictures can't even begin to describe what it was like, since it was overcast and our pictures weren't the best quality. 

After hiking down the mountain, we walked around the base of the mountain.   On this walk, we felt like we were in the middle of the forest, which often reminded me of the Disney movie, "Jungle Book," at times.  We also walked to different picturesque rocks within the site, which included man-made female and male genitalia.  Danxiashan Mountain was truly an amazing experience that I'll never forget. 

We ate dinner in downtown Shaoguan at a KFC.  It was a nice change to have some "American" food for a meal.  The coach dropped some of us on campus, while the others decided to visit a local hot spring.  I chose not to partake in the swimming because unfortunately, I did not pack a swimsuit!  It was very relaxing to come back to our rooms and hang out since we had been on-the-go all day.

Tomorrow, we will visit a local Elementary School.  I wonder if they will be as excited as the high school students?  Only time will tell!  More details to come tomorrow.

Danielle, Marketing major & International Business minor