Student Blogs

The Great Wall and The Forbidden City

January 19th, 2014 shjin15

WARNING: This post will have a lot of photos!

In the past week and a half, I’ve been to two very big touristy places in Beijing. Our school took us on a day trip to the Great Wall of China, and a few friends and I took a subway to check out the Forbidden City. Both places required a lot of energy, and a lot of walking around. It’s hard to believe that such great structures were man made.

Last Saturday, we climbed the “Mutianyu” section of the Wall. We had to trek up a few sets of intensely steep stairs before we were able to get to the actual Great Wall. But once we did, the view was just breath-taking. The sky looked so blue, and the mountains were incredible. So obviously, this called for a ton of photos to be taken:

The view from the Great Wall was BEAUTIFUL

The view from the Great Wall was BEAUTIFUL

It took a full 30 minutes of climbing stairs before we finally got to the actual wall... but it was worth it!

It took a full 30 minutes of climbing stairs before we finally got to the actual wall… but it was worth it!

There was about a 50-ft. drop on the other side of this wall...

There was about a 50-ft. drop on the other side of this wall…

Roommates + Roommates

Roommates + Roommates

Holy Cross students on the Great Wall!

Holy Cross students on the Great Wall!

A bunch of students just chillin' on the Great Wall

We wanted to take lots of photos on the wall… and lots of Chinese people wanted to take photos of us!

I like climbing things.

I like climbing things.

______________________

We finally got the chance to venture to the heart of Beijing this weekend – to 故宫 (The Forbidden City). The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace during the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. This place used to serve as home to the Emperor and the Chinese government. The Forbidden City is located at the very center of Beijing, and I had no idea it would be so big! It has over 980 buildings inside of it, and is one of the world’s largest preserved ancient wooden structures. We thought we would have to time go here AND to Tiananmen, but exploring this ancient city took the whole day… and we didn’t even get to look everywhere!

The pollution in Beijing has been really intense the past three days, and I think I caught a cold because of it. You might be able to see some of the smog in the photos at 故宫 (Gu Gong) below. We’ve all been wearing face masks to keep ourselves healthy. We’ve been really lucky, since the pollution level up until the past few days has been super low. Despite the pollution, there was still an enormous amount of people exploring the Forbidden City with us.

The Forbidden City!

The Forbidden City!

The forbidden city was HUGE.

The forbidden city was HUGE.

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Alyssa and I had a lot of fun taking “artsy” shots here.

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We HAD to take a photo with these little kids and their matching outfits.

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梁剑 (Josh) with a dragon statue.

梁剑 (Josh) with a dragon statue.

These two trees have grown so that their trunks touch each other!

These two trees have grown so that their trunks touch each other!

Jakob and I with some coooooool looking rocks.

Jakob and I with some coooooool looking rocks.

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Just hanging around :-)

Just hanging around 🙂

We only have 9 more days in our January semester! This Intensive Chinese Language Janterm semester is a little over 4 weeks, and I can’t believe it’s almost over. I’ve already been in China for almost a month! After this January semester ends, hopefully our workload will lighten up. I don’t want it to end though, because once we have our Janterm graduation banquet next Monday, it means that a lot of the current students here at CET are going to leave. About a third of the students will be continuing their studies in Kunming, another third of the students will be going to Harbin, some students will be going to Hangzhou, and the rest are returning to the states. For those of you who don’t know, Kunming, Harbin, and Hangzhou are all still in China (China is just so big!). I’ve made a lot of great friends in the past few weeks, and I don’t want to part with them.

Reflecting back on the past month, i’m really happy that I decided to come to China to study. In some ways, growing up in a Chinese household has given me an advantage, but there are still many other things that have given me some “culture shock” or some hardship. For example, apparently I have a “Taiwanese accent” when I speak Chinese. I had no idea that I had a certain kind of Chinese accent. My teacher told me that people think girls who speak in the Taiwanese accent sound cute, and some of the Chinese roommates have told me this as well. But there are also times where some people don’t understand what i’m saying because of it, or jokingly mimic me talk. Sometimes, I also feel that my teachers and some of my fellow students think i’m cheating because I’ve grown up listening to my parents speak Chinese. All I know is, I am learning a lot – I learn new things everyday. And everything that I learn in class is immediately applied to my daily life. My friend 梁剑 (Josh) and I even made up a game where we see who can use the most vocabulary words and grammar structures in a day. My Chinese has improved so much in the past month, I can’t wait to see where it’s at after our Spring term!

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

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