Our new Chinese friends

Our new Chinese friends

Deanna Barnes Sunday started off amazing and only got better as the day progressed.

In the morning we had a breakfast banquet at the same beautiful restaurant as the night before, with the Dean of International Education as our host again. Breakfast food in China is quite different from in the U.S.

With that in mind, I welcomed all of the intriguing dishes that were placed in front of me. First, we were given hot soymilk and unsweetened fried dough to dip into it. We had hot milk to drink and a plethora of other grains, vegetables and small proteins like raw peanuts.

In comparison to breakfast in the U.S., breakfast in China seems much healthier and balanced; but I kinda miss bacon and eggs!

After breakfast, several English majors from the university, as well as some high school students, greeted us to give us a tour of the university. After just a few minutes of speaking with the students I had an immense amount of respect for their ability to speak English so well.

For them, learning English had been mandatory since middle school, and it was still mandatory for college freshman; but getting good grades in English class was difficult even for the students who spoke very well.

Our new Chinese friends were so eager to discuss everything with us. They love American culture and music, especially pop music.

The two students from the local high school both plan to attend American universities in the fall, and their excitement to experience American culture first-hand showed clearly on their faces.

The walking tour of the campus was good exercise. The campus was massive and incredibly beautiful. The design of the campus integrates many different styles of architecture, as well as incorporating a lot of natural elements like various types of trees and a man-made lake.

Later, we took our first cab ride to Renmin Park to experience English corner;
a place for the locals to practice their English with foreigners or other locals who are more proficient in the language.

As we walked up to the center of the park everyone was so excited and greeted us warmly. They introduced us to some Chinese games in an attempt to help us learn their language, but they just ended up laughing at our terrible pronunciation.

Oh well, it was all in good fun!

Then we tried to show them some American games we played in elementary school — red light-green light was pretty silly as Jake (MacLean) called out the colors in a confusing manner.

We also tried to teach them duck, duck, goose; but it ended up getting us all pretty dirty.

By the end of our experience at English corner we all left feeling as if we had made a village full of new friends and amazing memories.

    — Deanna Barnes, junior art history major