Summer at the Xiamen University

By Young Journalist_Jack Byun, July 3, 2019

Today is Tuesday, July 3rd. Normally, it would be a day at home or at a program or a job for me back in New Jersey, but that’s not the case today. When I look out the balcony of my dorm I see the buildings of Xiamen University dotting a landscape of trees and mountains and feel the warm, humid air of southern China’s summer. A year ago, before my Chinese teacher informed me about this program, I would have never expected to go to China on a six week-long trip to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture, but here I am.

The day commences with a breakfast at a Chinese-style cafeteria. My go-tos include stir-fried eggs and tomatoes or the assortment of pastries provided. Class begins at nine. We learn a lot of new vocabulary and the class is held almost entirely in Chinese, which is challenging but helps us learn and can even be somewhat fun.

We head to lunch at 12, and the offerings include a bowl of noodles with various toppings and a spicy broth. A lecture follows by Dr. Chen. Today’s topic is Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher who has shaped and defined Chinese philosophy and culture to this day. Next is calligraphy class, where I write the characters I’ve learned with a brush in elegant strokes of ink.

Then, tutoring begins with local Chinese students where we practice what we’ve learned in class with native speakers, overcoming the language gap with Chinglish and Pleco (a Chinese translator app). Dinner is an assortment of dishes and rice from the canteen; since I do not yet know the names of the dishes, so it is essentially a game of picking what looks good and choosing those items in the future. I make good choices with a tomatoey chicken dish and some spicy tofu.

After dinner, I often explore Xiamen university with friends. Today we decided to buy milk tea and other treats from the shops on campus. We then walked through the Fu Rong tunnel, which is covered in countless murals ranging from those displaying tv show characters and famous actors to sayings and scenes of nature. Despite being thousands of miles away from home, it’s as if I’ve found another home here in Xiamen.

Here are some pictures for our first meal at the Xiamen University.

first meal

First Meal

first meal

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