Miscellaneous Reflection 1: Haggling

Of all the unique cultural things one has to get used to in China, I think one of my favorites was haggling, which is not something I would have expected. I try my hardest to avoid confrontation in just about every situation, so arguing with a stranger about something is  certainly not something I would […]

Miscellaneous Reflection #2


One of the biggest things about being a foreigner in China is that you tend to stick out. There just isn’t anything you can do as a Caucasian to not stick out. It also means that people make presumptions about you, one of the biggest being that you can’t speak Chinese. While at times this […]

A Diamond in the Rough


Over the course of my stay in China one of the greatest things I enjoyed about the culture was trying all the food. It in many ways reflects my own cultural heritage and upbringing with its emphasis on the importance of food, that I regard sampling the local fair as an essential part of experiencing […]

Ryan vs Wolf

So, out of the more notable experiences of our adventure was a little match of Mongolian wrestling between Ryan and… a man who killed a wolf with just a rock.  I’m not kidding you, this happened.  Actually, we all had the opportunity to do some Mongolian Wrestling; once I process those videos, they will be […]

Miscellaneous Journal #1 – Buddhist Temples


The Temple of Heaven During my stay in China, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many temples, and was shocked by the temples’ stylistic similarities. Each temple, especially the Buddhist temples, tended to guide the worshiper through a series of increasingly elaborate halls, alternating with vast courtyards, culminating in a shrine to that particular shrine’s […]

I cannot sink, therefore I swim


Well, I’m home.  I suppose I suspected it to more of a bang than a fizzle.  Still, here I am and happy to be. I feel like now, as it is fresh in my mind, is the time to reflect on the experience as a whole.  Going into this program, I had reservations.  On a […]

Approachability in Beijing

Example English Page for a 高考

One element of life in Beijing that became increasingly apparent the longer I stayed there was that being foreign affects the way others treat you.  My most notable anecdote about approachability comes from the security guard working at the front desk of the extremely large gym/stadium complex at Tsinghua University.  I had parked my bike […]

The Gym at Tsinghua


Last Saturday I had one of the strangest and possibly my most awkward moment in Beijing, which serves as a perfect example of when the attention arising from being a 外国人 turns from mildly amusing to noticeably uncomfortable.  Unsurprisingly, this happened at the small, dark room that some people at Tsinghua humorously call a gym.  […]

Leaving Beijing


The last two days in Beijing went by like a breeze. It was actually very sad to have to leave all of my classmates and new friends at the end of our two month experience together. We made a ton of memories together ( like dancing in Inner Mongolia with little kids after a lightening/thunder […]

A Bittersweet Ending


As I sit here in the hotel next to the airport, getting ready to leave for my flight in a few hours, memories from these past 2 months keep racing through my head. I’m so excited to go home to see my family and all my friends – but at the same time leaving this […]