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If You Are Going to Xiamen, Please Leave Some Flowers to Xiamen Huaxia University.

 

If You Are Going to Xiamen,

Please Leave Some Flowers to Xiamen Huaxia University.

 

   When I arrived on campus at Xiamen Huaxia University, I readied myself to navigate a culture very different from my own.  I was intimidated by the tall, imposing buildings and constant crowds of students, the bustle of campus life, the fast-paced spoken Mandarin. I drank it all in, though, because in my humble Midwestern hometown, life is far less colorful. During the school year, I attend Illinois Central College, a tight-knit institution that overlooks miles of farmland. I was eager for a chance to experience new things, and to learn more about life in China.

   I came with a group of other American students, and once we were settled in, we began taking Chinese language courses. Chinese is very challenging for English speakers, but the faculty members were patient and open to questions. We also spent time learning Tai Chi, which requires more concentration and effort than I expected. Barefoot on the dusty studio floor, I struggled to make my heels pivot as smoothly as the instructors’. My arms were crooked as snapped branches, but after a few hours of practice, my movements began to look more graceful and precise.

   After classes were finished, we got the chance to attend Chinese and English Corner, and had a really meaningful discussion with a group of Chinese students. Nearly twenty five people crowded into an empty classroom, and over the whirring of the ceiling fans, I made several new friends. A group of students also took us to Gulang Island, where we sampled local foods and admired the distinctive architecture. We have also been able to experience the nightlife in Xiamen, and were invited to try KTV by some fellow students.

   The campus community has been incredibly welcoming to my group, and has facilitated our adjustment to a new way of life. Illinois Central College offers the study abroad program to maintain its strong ties with Xiamen Huaxia University, and our time in China seems to have done just that. I have already grown fond of the vibrant student community that exists here in Xiamen, and feel fortunate to be helping to strengthen the bond between our two institutions.


 
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