Some thoughts on the study abroad part of my China adventure:
- My biggest recommendation for students considering a study abroad trip is don't take too many classes. Getting out into the city and surroundings on your own will teach you as much about the culture and language as a classroom will, and maybe more. I actually dropped down to 3 credits (from 6 at the start) so that I could explore more. At the beginning, I felt like all I was doing was studying. Having only 3 credits in a 5 week timeframe was plenty. That was still 9 hours of class per week plus homework.
- Don't hangout with the other English speaking students exclusively. It's easy to do and certainly more comfortable, but ask yourself if that's really why you came to another country to study. Get out and try interacting with the locals a bit, even if you can only speak a little bit of the local language.
- Try to break out of the pattern many college students have at home (go to class, do homework, sleep all day, party all night). Again, is this why you're in a foreign country? Maybe stay awake during the day and see where you live, ride the bus, go to local sites...and then sleep at night....
Now, on to my adventures from yesterday! I went to see the DuJiangYan Irrigation Project built about 2000 years ago and still in use today (though it has definitely been modernized as you'll probably notice in the pictures). It involved a 40 minute train ride (I had the adventure of buying the ticket for that on Thursday), and then a bus ride to get there.
Outside the train station that morning. First task - figure out where to go in! Second task, figure out where to go so you end up on the right train! I succeeded in both of these, with a bit of following people and a little luck. Top speed of the train I rode was 198 km/hr (about 123 mph).
The map of the whole place. Besides Chinese and English, there was a lot of German on this particular map.
The rules. If only people would follow them....
A cool bridge over one of the canals just outside the entrance gate.
Walking through some nice gardens. Unfortunately, it rained for more than half the time I was there.
The rain didn't slow down the crowds. All of the umbrellas are a bit problematic for me though - I'm a bit taller than most Chinese and their umbrellas tend to be right at eye/face level for me and I have to watch out to not get smacked by one.
A manmade island on the left of the photo.
The water was really moving fast. I don't think it was very deep though.
A channel on the other side of the manmade island.
A suspension bridge for pedestrians.
Lots of pretty flowers everywhere.
I climbed up to all the temples in the picture (well, except for the tall one at the top where I got within sight of the bottom of it and they wanted more money to continue).
Stairs and more stairs....
A view from one of the temples, looking back down at the suspension bridge.
I have no idea what this says, probably something enlightening, but I thought all the decorations along the top of the roof were cool.
That's all for this little trip. Next stop - Lhasa. I'm flying there tomorrow morning.