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Jayli T. blog

China Blog Post
As I sat in the DFW airport at 5:00 in the morning, I couldn't help but feel a little anxious. I was about to fly to the other side of the world and spend two weeks in a foreign country with eight other students who most of which I didn't know at all. Sounds a little crazy, right? Yet after roughly 22 hours of travelling I will have arrived at our hotel in Beijing and had dinner with our group that evening.

The first morning we visited the US Grains Council, ate lunch, and then toured the Sanyuan Dairy which was extremely interesting to see. After a huge duck dinner, we headed to the hotel and got ready for the next day that was full of activities including the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, the Beijing Zoo and Summer Palace. All of these destinations were filled with incredible sights, and of course we had to see the Pandas at the zoo. Although all activities were extremely awesome to see, the Summer Palace was my favorite activity of the day. There were several different intricate buildings that all had tons of beautiful detail on them and as we hiked through the palace we encountered several breathtaking views. After several sets of stairs we had a great view of the city!

The next day we were ready for the Great Wall. I have always dreamed of being able to see the wall and it definitely didn't disappoint. We walked miles of stairs and slopes and although it was exhausting, every step was just as phenomenal as the last!

The next day we had the opportunity to visit a tomato farm. Meetings with Chinatop, a Chinese cotton company, and students at China Agricultural University were on the agenda for our last day in Beijing. Mr. Wu, who worked at Chinatop, provided insightful and straight forward information about how this company traded and functioned in China despite all the barriers imposed by the government. I was not prepared for the amount of people I would encounter or the different smells during our time during Beijing but the culture was some of the coolest we got to see throughout the trip!

The next day we took a bullet train that travelled just over 200 kilometers per hour to Tianjin for the next portion of our journey. After we arrived we spent the day touring the city. We ventured around the Ancient Culture and Food streets during the afternoon and that evening most of the students spent the evening touring the city and we took a boat ride down the river. The next morning was spent meeting with representatives with ADM and touring their plant outside of Tianjin. ADM provided us with safety gear for a tour of their plant, and then we sat down for lunch and a Q&A session. The Q&A session was very informative as we got to speak with Chinese and American employees and heard several different opinions and viewpoints. After finishing up with ADM the group headed back into the city for an evening with students from Nankai University. The students had several questions for us over current events happening between the United States and China and it was a very eye opening experience as both sides got to hear the other's opinions and perspectives about the current issues. After discussing with the students for a couple of hours we had the chance to have dinner with them and get to know them on a personal level, instead of just talking policy and current events.

After a full two days in Tianjin, we boarded a plane the next morning to fly to Shanghai. Once we landed and settled into our hotel we headed to the Cargill office for an afternoon meeting. The next morning we met at the US Consulate. This meeting provided us with a lot of information about marketing US companies in a foreign country, as well as how huge of an impact the trade war has had on American exports to China. After a full afternoon and night of rest we were ready for the next day of activities touring the city. The first stop was the Shanghai Tower, which is the 2nd tallest building in the entire world. It gave an incredible view of the city! Next stop was the Yuyuan Garden. I never imagined I would enjoy walking around a garden so much. There was so much meaning behind everything at the garden and every spot we stopped at was beautiful. The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the city on our own and relaxing. We boarded another bullet train the next morning to visit Hangzhou for the day. While in the city we spent the morning and had lunch at a tea plantation, then visited an art museum during the afternoon. The tea plantation was a very peaceful place, and I never thought watching tea leaves be cooked would be so entertaining. Once the day was over we rode the bullet train back to Shanghai and prepared for out flight to Hong Kong the next day.

By this time in the trip I was exhausted and thinking I was ready to come back to America. After getting off the plane and seeing the slightest bit of Hong Kong, my mindset quickly changed and it didn't take long before Honk Kong had become my favorite destination of the trip. After arriving at the hotel we went out for a group dinner and then walked down to the port to look at the bay. The next morning a representative from Cotton Council International and the Meat Export Federation met us at our hotel for meetings. That afternoon we were suppose to tour meat markets in Hong Kong, however the weather was not cooperating. After the rain let up, several students spent the afternoon at the Jade and Ladies Markets. Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Stanley Market were on the agenda for the last day all together. Due to the fog, not much could be seen from Victoria Peak so we headed down to the Bay. Hong Kong was never somewhere I imagined to have pretty beaches, but I was in for a surprise. Sitting in the sand seeing the mountains in the Bay with all the shipping containers in the background is one of my favorite sites from the entire trip. After Repulse Bay we spent the rest of the afternoon at Stanley Market bargaining and had one last meal all together. The next morning most students had early flights, however Grace, Aerin and I were not suppose to fly out until 8 in the evening so we spent once more afternoon down at Repulse Bay.

As I sat in the airport two weeks earlier, I had no clue what was in store. While I was waiting to board to board the plane to come back home, I did not want to leave. In two quick weeks I had learned so much about a completely different culture and how they do business, gained eight new friends, and experienced so much more than I ever thought possible. Studying abroad in China is an experience I will never forget, and will forever be one of my favorite memories.

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