Studying Abroad in China

I thought I never would’ve gotten there. But, here I am reflecting on my study abroad journey that I kicked-off one year ago today.

The program was held in Xiamen, Fuijan in Southeastern coastal China—an area that was just as humid as my hometown. On the other hand, I surely would never have found any of that scrumptious dragon fruit at my local grocery store. 

While I was in Xiamen, I took a couple of courses in mass communication and participated in excursions. With no particular rating of likability, these were some of my favorite locations:

1. The Hakka Houses

The group of houses pictured above was given the name, “Si cai yi tang” (four dishes with a soup). However, most Hakka Houses are simply known for their traditional circular architecture. Hakka Houses were originated by the Hakka and were built to provide protection from invaders. 

Another feature of the Hakka region was the rice paddies along the roadside, and it was amazing to observer the daily routines of the natives. I enjoyed some traditional meals, which included bamboo and radishes. You can imagine how much this area conjured an appreciation for the rural, country lifestyles.

2. The Day Trip to Taiwan

With Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Sea” playing on my iPod, I drifted off on an hour long ferry ride from Xiamen to Kinmen, a small Taiwanese territory, and adventures awaited.
The island had a lot to offer, including black-headed gulls scattered about near the waters. The majority of the attractions, though, were about the Chinese Civil War. It was fascinating to read about war machinery and The Battle of Guningtou. 

3. The Buddhist Temples

 

This was, by far, one of the most intriguing experiences of the trip. These photos of the Pututuo Temple were taken near the university at which I resided. It was interesting to get a glimpse at the spiritual and philosophical worshiping practices.
 
These pictures were of another temple located near the university. Immaculate decorations lined nearly every corner and all was impressive. 

4. The Great Wall of China (Badaling Area)

This one is not begging for any introduction; my admiration is just another addition to the growing fascination for The Great Wall. The morning was surprisingly cool and breezy as I reached the heights of the historical landmark, and I recall repeatedly saying that the experience was, “surreal.”  Studying abroad was the first time I traveled internationally. I only resent how the trip left me disturbingly thirsting for more travels. Maybe by next year I will have traveled and will have jotted down another anniversary post.  

Post updated at 7:00 p.m. E.T. on May 21, 2014.

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