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旅行: Hong Kong

 

I am confident to say that the past week gave me memories I will remember for the rest of my life. It started with my typical “Shanghai business”. I attended classes at Fudan on Monday and finished an important project at BD Medical on Tuesday. The rest of the week, however, was nothing but typical. On Wednesday I picked up my parents from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport. They flew to China for two weeks to again experience this interesting country (they had a chance to spend some time in China in 2001) and check how their son is doing:-). I was very happy to see them and hang out with them on both Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, however, I had to leave Shanghai for a one-week academic trip to Hong Kong. It is quite unfortunate that I had to departure during my parents’ visit, but when they were planning their trip no detailed information about this trip was available.  However, I will still have a few days to spend with my mom and dad when I got back to “The Paris of the East” on Friday.

I got to Hong Kong University (my University for one week) shortly after 11pm on Friday. I made sure to rest well and spent my first full day in Hong Kong getting to know HK University campus and exploring the downtown area. The next day, however, was the most remarkable day of the past week. With a few other IES Abroad students I travelled to Macao-the other special administrative region of the PRC located just one hour from Hong Kong by ferry. I did not waste my time there and apart from sightseeing I had the opportunity to do the world’s highest commercial bungee jump from the Macao tower. It was an amazing experience that is hard to describe in words (I will do my best though when you ask me about it on the campus in August:-)).

In the first three of this week I enjoyed very interesting lectures at Hong Kong University, saw some more of the city, and had a chance to meet another international member of the Wabash class of 2014; more about all of this in the next note.

我的美国的大学在中国:The Wabash family

This weekend I had a remarkable opportunity to meet a Chinese member of the Wabash class of 2014. Yang Yu, who lives in Ningbo city (about two hours by train from Shanghai), visited me in Shanghai to learn more about the college he will soon attend. I am very happy that Yang chose Wabash; he is a very talented and hard-working student.He is very open-minded, has many interests, and loves to get involved. He intends to major in political science and minor in economics. I believe that the liberal arts education of our university is something he will truly enjoy.

Yang came on Friday afternoon and went back to Ningbo city on Saturday. During the time we spent together, we talked mostly about academics and student life at Wabash. I really enjoyed our conversations and am looking forward to hanging out with Yang in the fall. If you have a few minutes, make sure to shoot Yang an e-mail (richer0630@sohu.com) and welcome him to our college. I am sure he will really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, not everything this weekend was so positive. I was devastated to learn about the tragic news from Poland. I would like to thank all the members of the Wabash community for their condolences. Ahead of me is an exciting week as my parents visit Shanghai on Wednesday and I leave the city for a short trip to Hong Kong this weekend. However, in my mind and heart I will share the sadness of the Polish people.

Working at Winery Part of Williams ’11 Experience Abroad

Ben Williams ’11 – I have now been in Europe for a little over two months now, and my experience has been nothing less than the experience of a lifetime. From the second I stepped off the plane in Stuttgart, Germany, to where I am now in Vienna, Austria, every day has presented me with unique experiences and challenges that have truly made me a different person. And I can only imagine the adventures that lie ahead.

The program I chose to participate in is unique in that I have had the opportunity to study in two different locations. For the first month of my program I was located in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. Schwäbisch Hall is a small town an hour north of Stuttgart. While in Schwäbisch Hall I was enrolled in an intensive German course which helped me adapt to the language before I came to Vienna. I am now fully immersed in the language. Schwäbisch Hall was a unique experience because I was exposed to many different cultures from around the world. There were many international students also learning German along with me. Because of the unique exposure I was given the opportunity to get to know people from other nations such as Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, France, Argentina, Italy, and many other nations. 
 
The second part of my program placed me in Vienna, Austria, where I am now, and will remain until the end of June. I have now been in Vienna for a little over a month and the experiences I have had thus far would take another four or so blogs to get through. But I will try to explain some of my more interesting ones thus far. I will first talk about what I feel is the most interesting thing I am doing over here. 
 
I am currently an intern at a winery located in the northern part of Vienna. Working at the winery is an experience I will never forget. So far I have done everything from pruning the bushes in the vineyards to bottling over 12,000 liters of wine. And in a few weeks I will be attending a wine tasting in which I will have to help explain different wines to native English speakers who do not speak German. Having this internship once again put me in the situation where I am exposed to many different cultures. All of my co-workers are immigrant workers from Poland, Croatia, and Serbia. Learning their stories has been an experience in which I can truly say I would not have the opportunity of receiving at Wabash. 
 
I have also been able to get to know many Austrians. The Austrian students in my dorm have been very generous and have certainly gone out of their way to make me feel welcome in their country. 
Even the classes I am taking here are unique for me. There are girls in my classes for one, which is obviously a bit different for anyone that attends Wabash. But my classes are also all taught in German. This is a very sobering experience because having all my classes taught in German has certainly tested not only my ability to speak the language, but it has also tested my fortitude and willingness to persevere. 
 
There have been many times where I have felt like the “dumb” kid in class, which for us self-confident Wabash men is a hard pill to swallow. But I do believe that in the end it has very much helped my ability to adapt to the situation and succeed, which is certainly something Wabash teaches us all to do well. Although I am thankful for this experience that I would not be able to receive at Wabash, I feel I would not be able to take full advantage of this great opportunity without the skill set I have received from Wabash that has helped me so dearly since I have been here.

我爱这个地方:More about Shanghai

 

Leaving Crawfordsville for Beijing in December was a big change. I was living in a truly urban environment again. Although big city life has its downsides, I really enjoy it.  As I wrote in my previous notes, I found the capital of China to be very dynamic and anything but boring. However, while in Beijing, I was very curious about life in Shanghai.  Beijingers gave me very mixed reviews of this city, which added even more to my curiosity.

I’ve been in Shanghai for one month now, and I have to admit that I love this city. It has a fascinating history, very interesting people (who like to strongly distinguish themselves from other Chinese), great nightlife, and a unique energy that is hard to describe in words. Compared with Beijing, Shanghai appears to be very modern, and a lot more “walkable” because it’s not as widespread. I’m excited to keep learning more about the “Paris of the East” both through my Fudan University course and exploring Shanghai on my own. Below are two videos from last weekend I would like to share with you. The first one shows a surprising music performance on the balcony of a Nanjing Lu building. Nanjing Lu is one of the main pedestrian streets in downtown Shanghai. As you can see, it’s always full of people, especially on the weekends. The second one shows the Bund, Shanghai’s famous waterfront area. On the day I took the video, this beautiful place was reopened after being closed due to the 2010 Expo construction work.

 

Cantu ’11 Experiencing Bali Hospitality

Aaron Cantu ’11 – The first view out of my airplane window of Bali, Indonesia, was absolutely beautiful, and its been nothing but beauty since. I had no idea what was in store for me stepping off the plane, but almost two months into the program, its truly been an adventure.

My program center is based in Bedulu, a small village to the northeast of Denpasar, the capital of Bali. It is a beautiful place to call home. The village is riddled with tall palm trees, wild roaming chickens, and the zipping by of motorbikes down the main road. My classes are taught in an open air classroom which allows for a wonderful breeze on those hot Bali days. Being able to touch a refreshing rain during the rainy season from my desk is another spoil of studying here.

The intense language course has allowed me to communicate with locals and become integrated into the culture, as opposed to being just another tourist. After a mere week of class we were dropped off in a nearby village and expected to survive with our limited language skills. It was a frightening experience at first, but once I met a nice Balinese masseur, my nerves were calmed. We talked about America and my time in Bali while drinking a tasty cup of Balinese coffee and viewing a beautiful panorama of seemingly endless rice fields; all this in Bahasa Indonesia. It was my first taste of the wonderfully hospitable culture of the Balinese. 

This seems like a regular occurrence in Bali; being invited into peoples homes for meals after a mere five minutes of conversation is not uncommon. It’s the culture that allows for one to be completely immersed into Balinese life. I have been to temple ceremonies with my family, joining them side by side in prayer on some of the most holy of Balinese Hindu celebrations.

Along with wonderful people, the island also contains breathtaking scenery. I climbed the active volcano of Batur and witnessed the sunrise over the clouds on its peak. I felt as though I was on top of the world, on some secret perch that only few have been granted to experience. I have ran my toes through sands of every color on some of the most secluded and beautiful beaches in Bali. I have swam with dolphins in open ocean at sunrise with the view of mountains jutting into the ocean as my background. I have even hunted eels by hand through rice terraces with only the aide of starlight and fireflies.

The experiences that I have gathered so far will never be able to be fully understood through these words, or those of any others. I appreciate immensely the opportunity given to me by Wabash College to experience all that has been set out for me. I have grown in so many aspects of my life and will continue to do so in the coming month. I will be documenting village life through painting and sketching for the next month, which means no class, just living and painting. I will spend half my time painting in Seraya, a poor fishing village on the southeastern hill of Mt. Seraya, overlooking the pristine coast.

After my time is exhausted there, I will continue painting in Sukawana, a small village in the mountains near Batur. Although internet access will be hard to come by, I will be sure to update once I have finished my projects in these two villages. Sampai Nanti. Until Later.