Monday, June 13, 2011

Steve Meads: Tianjin, China

Steven Meads is a U of U junior studying Chinese and International Studies. He is currently abroad with the U of U Intensive Chinese Language in Tianjin program.

My name is Steven Meads and I currently am living it up in Tianjin, China.   I have only been in China for about five days but have seen and done some amazing things.  I left June 3 from Seattle, Washington taking a fourteen-hour flight arriving on June 4 in Beijing, China’s capital.  However, my program didn’t start until June 5 leaving me with one day to explore the city of Beijing with some fellow students.  Prior to leaving Utah I booked a room at a youth hostel in Beijing called P Loft Youth Hostel.  Luckily, I had a friend from one of my Chinese classes at the University of Utah who was willing to meet me at the airport and show me how to get there.   We rolled into the hostel late, at about 1:30 a.m. and immediately went to bed.  My room was shared with four other travelers who were all from China.  I had an opportunity to talk to a few of them and here about their own reasons for traveling. 

While exploring some of Beijing we decided to go to the Lama Temple, which is the only Tibetan, Buddhist temple in Beijing.  It is also home to the first record holder of the largest wood carved Buddha. The Lama Temple is a very large temple.  While there I made friends with four young Chinese people who explained to me some of the traditions and significance of the worshiping that goes on in the temple.  They even helped me to participate in praying to the Buddhist gods.  After a day of exploring in Beijing it was time to head down to Tianjin.

Nankai University is the school our group is studying at.  Are facilities and the campus is very satisfying.  Each student rooms with another student.  Each room has two beds, TV, air conditioning, American toilet, bathtub and shower, two desks for studying and even a small fridge (very small).  On the West side of campus there is a market that has all sorts of Chinese food to choose from.  There we buy our breakfast, lunch and usually dinner.  It is so cheep too.  We can eat a great meal for less that $3.50 every time.  It also is very exciting because it usually is very business making it always an interesting experience part of the Chinese culture.  Chinese are always interested to know where you are from and what you are doing in China.  I personally get asked that at least five times a day.  All of the people here are so kind and friendly and are more than willing to be your friend too.

After one week of classes I have already seen and done many things.  Monday through Friday we have Chinese class from 8:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.  After class I spend time to finish up homework and study.  The rest of the day is left completely up to us to do whatever we want.  My roommate and I bought bikes the first day on campus.  We usually will leave campus and just start riding in any direction until we get to an exciting destination.  Each time we have done this we have made friends with Chinese people who want to join us and will usually en up being our tour guides.  For example; yesterday we rode south of campus about two and a half miles until we came across a beautiful park with a random mountain/hill in the middle of it.  Within two minutes we met a young Chinese boy with the English name Tim.  He told us that the park used to be an old land field and the mountain/hill in the middle of it was a huge pile of garbage but know it was a beautiful park.  Another experience I had was my first day on campus.  I decided to explore a little on my own and came across an older man alone in his house.  I started to talk to him and the next thing I know I was playing Xiangqi, a popular Chinese board game with him.  He taught me how to play and I played with him for a good hour.   We experience things like this everyday.

As for my classes, they are awesome!  I have learned so much and I feel my Chinese has improved already and it has been less than one week.  Our teacher’s names are Professor Dong and Professor Bao.   Our professors make class, and learning enjoyable and exciting.  Our classes are most of the time interactive with activities that challenge and push you to work hard but have fun.

I am so glad I chose to come on this study abroad.  There is no better substitute for learning another language and culture than learning it abroad.  I have enjoyed every minute of it thus far and look forward to the next six weeks.  

1 comment:

  1. this is soooo cool~!!I live in LA but I am originally from Tianjin,so glad to see that you really enjoyed your time in Tianjin~