01. 20. 13. 06:08 pm

So it’s been 6 months…

I’ve finally gone back through all my old posts and changed the dates so that they reflect the actual dates of my study abroad experience! I know it would have been better, and easier, if I had blogged while I was in Beijing but honestly, once you’re there, you’ll lose yourself in exploring the city and blogging seems like something you can push off. Besides, it was nice to slowly go through all my old photos and relive memories. There are definitely times that I miss Beijing (though not the air quality!) and wish that I could be back there. So, would I recommend studying abroad? Yes! There may always be time in the future to travel abroad, but not necessarily to study abroad where you’re grouped with new people and you’re all the same age with the same goal in mind: to have as much fun as possible before having to go back to the stuffy boring classrooms. As for the PKU International Summer School program specifically, I have to say that it is not going to be as easy as you might think. There will be homework and finals (some very hard!) and even though the professors know that you’re abroad and want to balance school and play, they will still hold you to the high academic standards of PKU and your home schools. For UC students, the program will consist of a 2 week “pre-course” on Contemporary China before regular classes. THIS CLASS IS NOT A JOKE. They will test you on obscure facts from the lectures and some people will fail/ not pass. This was actually a bit of a conflict with my class because we all felt that the the dynamics of the course, especially the teachers’ expectations and plans for the final, were handled poorly. However, I did appreciate that we were allowed to voice our concerns to the director of the program who took it into account when calculating our final grades. And then once we finally got our final grades, he took our complaints in account again to review the course material and the teachers and then changed grades accordingly. As for regular classes, I took Flower In the Mirror: The Chinaman and his Values and Modern Chinese Literature, which were two very interesting classes. I did feel that both professors had a hard time trying to find the balance between their own teaching styles and what they though us exchange students would prefer. Overall, I felt I learned a lot and I really loved the reading selection for my literature class; it was an interesting mix of traditional and avant-garde writing and it was pretty interesting when my professor looked to me to define “Erotic asphyxiation" for him. So, go study abroad! You’ll have your own funny, sad, scary, stories to tell, thousands of images to look through, and you’ll meet amazing new friends! I hope anyone who comes across this blog will think about studying abroad or at least will like sharing my experience with me. ♥Cindy

07. 31. 12. 09:47 pm ♥ 1

We spent the day exploring and shopping and ended up at the Old City of Shanghai. It’s now one big shopping area with beautiful old-style buildings contrasted against the modernized Shanghai that surrounds it. While there we went to Nanxiang Mantou Dian and got giant xiaolongbao! They were pretty delicious and so big that they have you straws to use to suck out the soup.

07. 30. 12. 04:48 am ♥ 2

Shanghai is absolutely gorgeous. Where Beijing is somewhat crowded and very smoggy, Shanghai had nothing but clear blue skies when we were there. We went to the Shanghai World Financial Center, the building that looks like a bottle opener, and bought tickets to go up all the way to the 101th floor. The view was amazing and we were lucky since we got there just before sunset so we got to see the view before and after. The tickets were a little pricey, even with a student discount, but definitely worth it!

07. 24. 12. 03:21 am
Dessert! This sucker was HUGE and oh so good. Red bean snow ice with boba, green beans, and condensed milk drizzled on top :) High-res

Dessert! This sucker was HUGE and oh so good. Red bean snow ice with boba, green beans, and condensed milk drizzled on top :)

07. 21. 12. 05:45 am ♥ 1

The last stop of the day was Qianmen Street. I was looking for a place to buy some Chinese medicine to bring home for my parents and the oldest Tongrentang (Chinese herb pharmacy) is here. All I can say is: go here. There are so many stores and alleyways with more stores. I’m pretty sure they have every imaginable item and souvenir here, some you don’t even have to bargain for because it’s already that cheap. I also saw my first “traditional style” Starbucks here! The drinks are about the same as in the US, although they do have a better selection of tea.

07. 31. 12. 10:00 pm ♥ 1

In the Old City of Shanghai you can find Yu Garden, which is an absolutely gorgeous and relaxing place to visit. Really, I can’t even find the words to describe how much I liked this garden. It’s built around a lake and there are so many twists and turns and I just felt surrounded by nature a few feet away from a busy shipping district.

07. 30. 12. 05:54 am
Dinner at the Shanghai World Financial Center! It was our first night in Shanghai so of course we had xiaolongbao. We went to Din Tai Fung, which is a Taiwanese chain restaurant and supposedly one of the best places to get xiaolongbao. I have to admit it was pretty yummy! High-res

Dinner at the Shanghai World Financial Center! It was our first night in Shanghai so of course we had xiaolongbao. We went to Din Tai Fung, which is a Taiwanese chain restaurant and supposedly one of the best places to get xiaolongbao. I have to admit it was pretty yummy!

07. 30. 12. 03:27 am

On my way to Shanghai! After our program ended I joined a few of my classmates for a short trip to Shanghai. Of course we had to take the bullet train, which was pretty nice; I barely noticed the 4 hours it took for us to get there. Supposedly, there is wifi for the travel but I couldn’t access it.

07. 23. 12. 03:15 am

I finally got a chance to visit the New Summer Palace with my friend today, the last cultural site I visited in Beijing. Since it’s not in ruins, I definitely liked it a lot more than the Old Summer Palace. We decided to rent a paddle boat and take a tour around the lake and when we were in the rental line we ran into a nice lady and her young daughter who offered to split the boat with us. This made it so much cheaper, which seemed like a good idea.. until my friend and I realized we were the only ones able to row the boat. My thighs hurt for days afterward but it was definitely worth it. I think everything about this place is so gorgeous. And I even (finally) got to take my old dynasty style picture!

07. 21. 12. 03:37 am

Dinner! We wandered around nearby the mosque for a while until we found this restaurant tucked in a corner somewhere. I don’t remember the name of the place but the food was delicious! It’s funny how after spending so much time in Beijing we had to actively remember to order vegetables!