Mollie Bailey –
What a ride this trip to China has been. We have made it through the hot and humid weather, “angry rain”, and even been the closest I’ve ever been to a lightning strike. Past just the weather conditions, we have been able to meet many extremely loving and caring people who have taken us in and helped the “crazy (loud) Americans” get around town in mostly Chinese speaking areas (as expected of course). We have also gotten to see how different businesses and universities are run such as a very prestigious university (Hong Kong University), a very successful port along with the largest ship in the world (Yantien Port in Shenzhen), and also an international university (Guandong University of Foreign Studies).
This morning, we made our way over to Guandong University of Foreign Studies to meet with the dean of international studies. He gave us an in-depth history of China dating back to the dynastic rule from over 3,000 years ago. He explained the three stages of government that China has faced. These stages entail 3,000 years of feudal rule (dynastic age), on to 39 years of a democracy — all leading up to socialism with Chinese characteristics which brings us to China’s current system. He then explained the poverty of alleviation system which requires organizations all over China to help build up the less privileged villages that are close in distance so that China can become a middle class economy. The dean also stressed how there are many improvements that the Chinese Government is wanting to make, such as an improved environment (air pollution), anti-corruption efforts against government officials’ excesses in lifestyle spending, public education (providing enough education to the masses), and hospital services. China has made large strides in these improvements but still has a long way to go. To say the least, this talk was very interesting to all.
After that meeting, we went to lunch in a canteen with one of the Chinese students named “Kyrie.” It was a madhouse since we could not speak Chinese, but Kyrie graciously helped us out and everybody was satisfied. For the rest of the day we were able to meet and interact with more Chinese students as well as being able to chat and share another meal with them. They spoke English very well and it was interesting to hear about what their lives are like in China. This trip has been extremely enriching so far as we have been able to soak up a lot of information from experiencing everything first-hand. The things I learn here will be lifelong lessons and knowledge because we are embarking on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I have loved the trip thus far and cannot wait to see what else is in store for us.