By Jay P.

As I find myself filled with mixed emotions as the NSLI-Y program comes to an end, I have learned much about China, its people, and their culture. At the same time, I have also expanded my knowledge of both the Mandarin language and the Chinese lifestyle in an exponential manner.

China in the past decades has grown tremendously. With the many skyscrapers that have been erected, and the new area that has been carefully planned and built (Putong), China’s tourism and economy has grown outstandingly, earning the nation its number one spot in the world’s greatest growth in GDP.

Through learning the language and culture, I have understood that the Chinese are a very proud people, who care about their family and friends. They will stop at nothing to make you more than happy (for example, the home stay weeks). China, as a whole, is an extremely developed country, and I think one can only truly grasp that if they visited China to see for themselves.

The Chinese people are very happy with their current living situation I think, even though some Americans believe that under Communism rule, the people cannot live freely and comfortably. After I experienced the home stay, I learnt otherwise. I lived very comfortably, and I had everything I wanted. On the way back from Beijing, I sat next to a Chinese man, who had traveled around the world. He told me he did not support Communism, and thought that Democracy should be spread through China. He even called the government “evil”, and said that they took innocent lives for no reason. Right then and there, I realized that not all Chinese people had the same thoughts on their government, and that all of China had people who agreed with this man. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of change in China.

I hope to learn more in these last couple of days, and I think so far we have all enjoyed and learnt a lot on China, its language, and its culture.

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