Week 3 – Beijing – Luoyang, China
Hi, everyone! We are so happy to see how many people have been reading our blog every week we will be sharing more information about the cities that we are visiting and a few travel tips. This week’s journey started in Beijing and ended in Luoyang. Our schedule has been very busy, our days have consisted of networking and building relationships with partnerships to open job opportunities for Georgian College students, conducting presentations, meeting new students and we even got a chance to learn more about the history of the Chinese culture.
We have realized that things that are normally so simple when you are in your comfort zone, it is totally different when you are working abroad in a different culture with a non-stop schedule. We were so happy to meet our Manager Lily Loa Da (In Chinese this means Boss) that came from Canada to work with us.
We conducted a few presentations in Beijing. The first was at JJL, an agency where we had the pleasure to work with Sunshine (Georgian College – In-Country Representative) from Beijing and Gloria (Staff member of JJL). The presentation was very productive because we had a chance to talk with all of the JJL staff and a few potential students for GC. After our presentation one of the students that was listening decided that she will join us at Georgian next year.
The second presentation was at a High school that is attached to the Northeast Normal University, the Chaoyang School. We had an incredible time and engaged with all of the students that were there listening to us. Towards the end of the presentation, there were many students volunteering to ask questions and take pictures with us. Also, we had the opportunity to sit in on a tea lesson on campus and have a tour of the school. It was very nice to see how much of the extra-curricular activities the school had to offer to their students.
Aside from work, we wanted to learn more about the Chinese history while we were in Beijing. On our day off we took a tour to Mutianyu, The Great Wall. Mutianyu is one of the best preserved and well-known Great Wall sections that is less crowded with tourists. It’s located 65KM (40 miles) to the North of Beijing City. The surrounding natural scenery is breathtaking, and forest covers 96% of the scenic area. It was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty and was later rebuilt by two famous Patriotic Generals Tan Lun & Qi Jiguang to strengthen the defensive potential when they guarded the strategic pass. We took the cable car to No. 14 and hiked to watch tower 23. It was really hot outside, and we ran out of water about half way up. Someone told us that when we reach the top that there was water for sale, but when we got there we sadly figured out there wasn’t!
When we arrived in Luoyang our first, and main stop was Luo Yang Dongfang Foreign Language school. When we walked in there were so many students running up to us wanting to take photos, and a lot of people saying look “Foreigners!” This school is a boarding school, and it had children from younger grades all the way up to grade 11 that wanted to hang out with us. The presentation went great, and we had a student volunteer that wanted to sing! The student sang Justin Bieber for everyone. Many of the students were asking questions to Paulo about the challenges of studying in a new country, where you don’t speak the language and aren’t familiar with the food and the weather. We believe having the two of us here (a Domestic student & an International student) has been helping the students in East Asia see that it isn’t as scary as they think to go abroad and that Canadian’s (especially at Georgian College and Barrie Community) are so welcoming & helpful with everything.
We had one day off in Luoyang, and even though we were extremely exhausted, everyone kept telling us that we had to check out the Longmen Shiku Cave & The Shaolin Temple. The Luoyang Shiku caves has some of the finest examples of Buddhist art, with as many as 100,000 statues inside 2,345 caves. The Shaolin Temple is considered “The Birthplace of Kung Fu” and dates back 1,5000 years ago. It is the main Temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day. On our way to this destination, we saw something very different that was tough to see. One small city area we drove through had cages with all types of animals being sold for consumption. We did happen to see one cage with small dogs in it, and we had to look away. One stereotype in North America is that the Chinese people “eat dogs, ” but we have learned this is not a popular thing or a common occurrence. Another thing we noticed in Luoyang was that the air quality due to pollution was heavy and we did find it harder to breathe in comparison to other cities we have been to in China. During the drive back to our hotel, we were terrified because our driver decided to take a shortcut and go on the other side of the highway into ongoing traffic! Afterward, we were laughing so hard, but during this time we didn’t know what to do as we had no control of what was going on.
A week ago we saw a funny youtube video of two friends that play a game called “The Floor is Lava.” It’s when one person says “The floor is lava!” and takes a recording on their phone while the other person has 5 seconds to find something to stand on that isn’t the floor. We’ve been playing this game, and it has been really fun, so we wanted to start sharing videos of the places in China we’ve been doing this.
This co-op has already helped us learn how to adapt and grow so much. We know that we are going to be returning to Georgian College as better versions of ourselves and that our understanding of working with people from other cultures is rapidly developing.
We hope everyone can leave us a comment and if you would like to know any information that we did not post here, feel free to send us a message. Below are more photo’s from our week!
Paulo & Melissa