After the hot summer, fall finally comes along with cool breezes and the aroma of blossoming osmanthus fills the streets in Nanjing. Students have attended classes for four weeks at the CIEE Study Center at Nanjing University. The past month has been busy with schoolwork and many activities, from exploring Nanjing and meeting new Chinese friends, getting involved in community engagement projects, to weekend excursions… It has been very exciting to start such a journey with everyone in the program in a booming metropolis with 2,500 years of history.
We started our orientation with activities to introduce ourselves and explored Nanjing in a scavenger hunt around the university neighborhood. We found the alley with local dumplings, noodles, and an authentic Korean restaurant, the most artistic bookstore in Nanjing, LIBRAIRIE AVANT-GARDE, the university gym, and small coffee shops that previous students have enjoyed. Everything is so close!Dream Team One for Scavenger Hunt
Our Chinese Roommates/Tutors/Language Partners/Friends
Getting to know our Chinese roommates and tutors was fun. We visited the six-hundred-year Ming City Wall together and took boats on the picturesque Xuanwu Lake with lotus flowers floating around the lake. To know our tutors better, we did an activity called “Deep Connections” sharing our interests, dreams and goals with each other. Surprisingly, although growing up in different environment, we really share something in common and had quite a few laughs.
Our Chinese roommates and tutors are the best helpers and local guides. They showed us the student cafeteria and popular small eateries, local supermarkets, shopping at the Fashion Lady, how to buy things on Taobao (the Chinese Amazon), and how to play Chinese mahjong… They are also the best language partners and tutors. We each learned a Chinese song with our roommates and tutors and went to a CIEE organized karaoke club to sing Chinese and American songs! Singing karaoke in China is so different from karaoke in the U.S. We were in a private big room with only CIEE students and roommates.
Each week, they will tutor us on Chinese language for two to three hours. This is very helpful for our learning outside of the classroom. Because it’s one-on-one, tutoring is tailored to the individual.
During the orientation, we had a lecture on the Chinese economy and trade with the U.S. The lecturer, Dr. Tsang, has taught for the University of Arizona for many years before he relocated to Nanjing and was rated one of the best lecturers by student at University of Arizona and previous CIEE students. Dr. Tsang started with the question “Is China a rich or a poor country?” and explained the astonishing development of China’s GDP over the past twenty years relative to the world, the Chinese export industry, the Chinese currency and how that affects the Sino-U.S. trade and consumers in China and in the U.S. It helped us to understand what we heard or read before and made us think deeper about what we see in China.
Weekend Trip to Shanghai
On September 6th to 8th after hearing the lecture on China’s economy growth, we visited the economic and financial center of China—Shanghai. With around 28 million people, Shanghai is a fascinating metropolitan city from every aspect: the skyscrapers, the busy footsteps in the subways, the shopping areas, and so many international people. We had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai located in the French concession. After a meticulous security check, we met with two political officers and an economic officer at a historical Western-style mansion. The officers talked with us about Foreign Service, their special areas and the representation of the U.S. in China. Students asked all kinds of questions from hot issues in U.S.-China relations, to environmental pollution in China and to how to become a Foreign Service officer. After a delicious Shanghainese meal with Sheng Jianbao, we went to see Shanghai Acrobats “the EREA”. It was a fantastic and breath-taking show!
The next day, we had a walking tour with an American architect at the Shanghai City Planning Museum and the Bund. Having lived in Shanghai for 18 years, Spencer speaks fluent Shanghainese and knows a vast amount about the colonial history and modern development of Shanghai from an architectural standpoint. We learned so much about how Shanghai evolved from a tiny fishing village in the 1840s with 30,000 locals in the Opium War, to how the reform and opening up of China in the 1970s led to the recent 20 years of roaring industrial development.
This semester, we are happy to announce that CIEE Nanjing Center is collaborating with one of the largest law firms in Nanjing to offer internships for CIEE students. Two of our students majoring in legal studies will be involved with the law firm. They really look forward to observing a Chinese court with their mentors in the coming week.
As usual, many students this semester will carry on the great community engagement projects such as volunteering at the local community center tutoring kids English and teaching at Yuhuatai Elementary School with half of its student population coming from migrant families.Chatting with kids at the local Community Center
中秋节就要到了！The Moon Festival is just around the corner. The homestay students will spend the holiday with their Chinese families. The dorm students are invited to go to CIEE staff’s house to experience this homecoming festival with a wonderful meal and eating some delicious moon cakes. Happy Moon Festival! 花好月圆！