Texas Tech University

Jared S. blog

China Trip 2019 Blog

My name is Jared, an Agribusiness and Applied Economics major. This year I traveled to China to study abroad, and I'm here to tell you about my two weeks spent halfway around the world. Let's start at the beginning, the fourteen-hour plane ride, and I'm going to say I'm not a fan of the ride. If you can get through the plane trip you can survive China.

Once we landed in Beijing, we met with our tour guide and drove to the hotel. Beijing's size shocked me. It reminded me of New York, hi-rises and skyscrapers everywhere, apartment buildings every ten feet. The city sprawled out as far as the eye could see. During our business trips the companies felt just like American companies. Business is business no matter where you go. Touring around Beijing was highly different than touring around the States. The food, culture, and the people are all different. The Chinese food is totally different in main land China than in the United States. The main land food is all about spices, unlike our Chinese food which relies on sauces and external choices for flavor. We couldn't communicate with the locals, we had to do a lot of pointing at pictures and hand gestures. Dr. Wang had to communicate and order for us most of the time. I also learned that being left-handed isn't frowned upon but, it isn't normal for them. Several times I was gesture to use my useless right hand to eat.

Now on to the fun stuff, The Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City. The Great Wall is a structure that T.V. and documentaries can't put into prospective. The Great Wall stretched for miles upon miles of land. As far as you could see brick and mortar stretched forever. Riding up to the wall in the gondola was an amazing experience but, walking the wall was the best. Something about being on a Wonder of the World and seeing mountains before you just takes the breath out of you.

The Forbidden City was the same way. When you walk into the Forbidden City, there are multiple gates that you must walk through to get to different sections of the City. Large buildings that have different functions from protecting the emperor to housing his concubines were located within the Forbidden City.

After the fun in Beijing we traveled to Tianjin. For the trip to Tianjin we had to ride a bullet train. That was the smoothest 325 kilometers per hour ever. The ride only took 30 minutes to complete the trip there. Tianjin had a Corpus Christi feel to it. Tianjin was right next to the ocean, so it was a nice temperature every day. Our tour guide took us to the Ancient Culture Street market where the locals were selling all sorts of things from Jade to clay statues. The prices were higher for the more quality goods and cheaper for the less qualified. That night we took a boat tour. The boat took us under multiple bridges and down the waterways. The tour was short, but everybody got good photos during the ride. We only stayed in Tianjin for two days, so we didn't get to see very much.

On the third day we departed to Shanghai. Shanghai had the New York feel just like Beijing. Shanghai is a massive city with skyscrapers everywhere. On the first day we visited Cargill, an agricultural distribution company. The Cargill faculty showed us everything that there is to show about the distribution of goods in China. The next day we visited the U.S consulate. The consulate visit showed more of the numbers in the exports and imports of goods in China, giving us the perspective of what goods China was interested in over the years. When the business visits were done, we toured around Shanghai. The Shanghai Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Shanghai. Looking down from the tower was the scariest and aw-inspiring thing I have ever done. The height that you look out from shows off the city. Vehicles and boats look like toys down below, the city looks a lot like the rugs you had has a kid with the city laid out on it for your toy cars. The next place we visited The Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar. The Yuyuan Garden is a beautiful garden. Water flows through the garden gracefully. Lush green plants and trees grow in harmony with the temples and buildings. The last place we visited in Shanghai was the Jade Buddhist Temple. The temple had Buddhist monks and worshipers in every prayer spot. People were walking peacefully around, absorbed in the quietness of the temple. We had the chance to drink tea in the temple and enjoy the serenity of the moment.

Speaking of tea, we traveled to Hangzhou to visit a tea plantation. The tea plantation in Hangzhou was different than I imagined. The tea plant looks like a bush that is about knee high. At the plantation the workers showed us how the tea is prepared, from picking it on the plant to cooking it so the moisture is removed from the leaves. At lunch we had the tea that they had prepared for us, and I have to say it was pretty good. After the plantation visit, we walked around the Summer Palace in the rain. The massive lake compared to the buildings make the structure look small. Because of the rain we didn't get good pictures.

We took the bullet train back to Shanghai and flew to Hong Kong the next day.
When we landed in Hong Kong the humidity hit us like a truck. It was hot every day, it wasn't nice like Tianjin. We learned that the Chinese food in Hong Kong was closer to the Chinese's food we have in the States. That was because the Chinese food we have is Cantonese and Hong Kong is a Cantonese population, unlike main land China which is Mandarin. Our business visits with the Cotton Council and U.S Meat Federation where quick. We went to two markets in Hong Kong, the Ladies Market and the Stanley Market. In the market haggling is a necessity. We got to try our hand at it, some of use didn't do so well, others did great. One of our tourist trips in Hong Kong was Victoria's Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. It was misty that day so we couldn't see the Hong Kong city from the peak, however it was nice because the wind was constantly blowing keeping us cool. Later in the day we stopped at a man-made beach, the view looked normal except for the mountains and hills piercing the water making a cove. Our stay in Hong Kong wasn't long and soon we were flying back home.

This was my first time out of the United States and I have to say, it was great. Those of you reading this, if your scared to travel, don't be. Being in another country halfway across the world was the experience of a lifetime for me. I mean how many people can say they have stood on the Great Wall of China. Going on this study abroad with Texas Tech has opened my eyes to the world, it has sparked an interest in travel that I have never had before. If an opportunity to study abroad is offered to you, take it. Take it and run with it, you won't regret it. Explore the world, it's beautiful and full of adventure.


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