August 2015, Kennesaw State University Cohort 2016 began to engage in discussions regarding the SEAM model and the option of the Study Tour to China scheduled for June 2016.
I was one of the Cohort members that was not initially sold on the idea of spending two weeks in China. After all, I don’t speak the language, I am certainly not a fan of communism, I have no Chinese associates in my social circle, I know very little about China, and their food is far more than a mystery. With thoughts in mind I was saddled with the question of “Why should I invest any of my resources going over there?” In the end my answer to the question was founded on all of the same reasons that generated the question in the first place, so realizing that this would be a great learning opportunity off to China I went. What I define as my 1st key learning came during day two in Beijing when we toured Tiananmen Square. It was there that we were introduced to some of the rich history of China by our tour guide. Our education on China included knowledge about the various Emperor’s that lived in the Forbidden City, procedures for entering and exiting the city, who lived there, and who was allowed to enter. We also learned a lot about the Ming and Qing (pronounced Ch’ing) dynasties which ruled from 1368-1912.
I found China to be rich in artifacts, design, and the people to have deep rooted religious beliefs. During our visit to the Emperor’s Summer Palace the only restriction we experienced with regard to taking photos was in places of worship. Below are some of the extraordinary things that we saw.
The range in architectural design that I observed was nothing less that impressive.
There were also areas that generated not so subtle reminders of exactly where we were.
All in all I am glad I decided to take this once in a life time journey and would strongly recommend visiting China to anyone that has the opportunity to do so. In all transparency there were numerous challenges with language barriers, unfamiliar cuisine, large crowds, and weather conditions. However, each challenge also presented a learning opportunity to adapt and adjust just as the Chinese must do when visiting the US. As I look back at my journey through China I have come to realize that this trip delivered much more that I anticipated and provided me with key learning’s about adaptability that I will carry through life.
Daryl A. Renolds
The SoS Communicator
Please share your thoughts and experiences on China or any other travels abroad.