Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – Natalie Massenet

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We arrived in Beijing, China on Tuesday the 14th of June after a three-hour flight delay in Texas. The airport was interesting as many security personnel marched in uniform lines. After checking into the hotel and putting our bags away, Dr. Gao, the four other students, and myself went out to a late dinner. It still had not hit me that we were in a different country. Living in Johns Creek, where there is a plentiful amount of Asian stores, the Chinese characters on signs had not really phased me. However, my classmates and myself did receive many glances from the native folk in the city.

The second day we went to Tiananmen Square; this is when I really started to feel like I was in a different country. Military personnel were walking around carrying heavy-duty assault rifles. However, the culture and buildings still had not really shocked me much at this point. I can only assume this was due to my interest in Chinese history during the era of the Three Kingdoms.

During our time in Tiananmen Square, I felt like quite the celebrity, taking probably over 60 photographs with other individuals I had never seen or met in my life.

-Paymon Kashani

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