Welcome to China!
By Grant Brown – Grant is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad 2013 Fall Correspondent who is studying abroad at Sichuan University, China. He is from DePauw University.
Today marks my second full week living in China, and thus far I’ve had a trip jam packed with new and exciting experiences. Beginning in Beijing, our GlobaLinks Learning Abroad study abroad group toured many of the traditional sights such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Hou Hai Lake, and of course the Great Wall.
The scenery was even more beautiful than it was on my previous visit to Beijing in January. During our stay in Beijing we had the opportunity to learn kung fu from Master Liu, who studied alongside Jet Li and lives near the Drum Tower in Beijing (a building used to announce the time). He was extremely patient with us and overall was an excellent teacher (His son Weichao Liu is the 7 time Beijing kung fu champion). It was amazing to be able to train with someone so prestigious and knowledgeable. Following our brief stay in Beijing, we packed our bags and headed to Chengdu!
After living in Chengdu for over a week now, there are apparent differences between this city and other cities in China that I’ve been to. First of all, it rains here. A lot. However, with such a humid and rainy climate the scenery in Chengdu is breathtaking. Some of the magnificent scenery can even be seen on our own campus at Sichuan University.
Along with the change in Climate, there is an evident social difference between Chengdu and say Beijing or Shanghai. Comparatively, the citizens of Chengdu are much friendlier and live life at slower pace than some of the other larger cities I have visited. Another interesting characteristic of Chengdu, and the Sichuan province in which it is located, is their fantastic food, which is traditionally made with spices so strong your mouth can go numb. Chengdu is referred to by many Chinese people as “Food Heaven” and I’m loving every meal here – from the noodle restaurant near my dorm to the dumplings I get from the street vendor for my breakfast, but especially Hot Pot (火锅). Although, the first time I ate Hot Pot my mouth felt like it was on fire, I’ve never eaten anything so spicy! I’ve had an amazing time so far in Chengdu, and I look forward to sharing my experiences and new found knowledge with all of you!