I attended the Chinese Bridge Summer Camp from July 17 to August 1 this year. First off, I would like to thank the people that made this trip possible for me (Hanban, Confucius Institute, and our very own Chinese School principal, Ms. Li Yiheng). I had an amazing time in China. I had met some of the most wonderful and kindhearted people in China and Changsha (the capitol city of Hunan Province located in the central part of China). Everyone treated me with kindness and patience when I was in China. I felt at home and comfortable in China because of these kind people.
The program started from when my parents and I left Richland on July 15 to go to Seattle. We got a hotel and stayed overnight in Seattle. The next day, when we got to the airport, I met the people from our Washington group (the group consisted of 39 people). We all got our boarding passes and then, it was time to say bye to our parents. We won’t be seeing them for a whole two weeks. So after we got to our gate, we boarded the plane to San Francisco. Then we had about a two hour wait before the long flight to Beijing. After we got on the plane, I realized that there was an inflight entertainment system. I was thrilled!! I watched a whole bunch of movies on the plane. After the plane safely landed in Beijing, we left the Beijing Airport and went to eat dinner. After dinner, we went to our living quarters for the time we were in Beijing. We then went to bed. So that concluded my first day of this amazing trip. I’m going to be a lot more concise in the rest of this just so you know. During our two days in Beijing, there was an opening ceremony and the meeting of our tour guide, Charlie. He was a great and funny guy. He made the long bus rides a whole lot more interesting with his hilarious stories of his traveling experiences all over the world. But after two days in Beijing, we had to leave Charlie and Beijing for Changsha, where we spent the bulk of our time in China (we spent about ten days in Changsha).
In Changsha, we had so many things to do and learn. But the very first thing we did was take a test to see which Chinese class we would be sorted into. I was sort of surprised that we still had to do work on our trip. But it turns out that it wasn’t all that bad. Throughout our days in Changsha, we only had a total of about 6 hours of Chinese class. It was a pretty simple Chinese course for me, even though it was the highest Chinese course available. The other days, we just toured the city, visited national monuments, went to some very interesting museums, and shopped at the stores around our hotel. I had a great time there and I also managed to make some pretty awesome friends. Well, in no time, it was time to leave the amazing city of Changsha. We went to the airport in Changsha and flew back to Beijing to spend the final two days of our trip to china. The first day of our last two days in China gave us a big shock. Charlie, our tour guide, was back to be our tour guide once more!!! This put a smile on all of our faces. So on that day, we went to the Great Wall of China. There were three different paths up the great wall, all varying in difficulty. I just picked a random one with my friends and, what do you know? I managed to pick the most difficult path, but too late now, there is no going back. So my friends and I battled our way to the top. It was ridiculously hard to climb. When we got to the top we could barely stand, our legs were shaking, chests pounding, and head sweating like crazy. Then we headed back down the great wall, now let me tell you, climbing back down might seem easier than the climb up, but when your legs can barely hold you up? Not so easy now. It was all I could do to not collapse and just lay there, unable to move. Then, after we got back to the hotel, we immediately went to our rooms and just collapsed on the bed. We did nothing else that day, so we just went to bed super early. The next day was our last day in China. But we had one last treat prepared for us. We were going to the Pearl Market. That is a pretty prominent market in Beijing. There were so many interesting things in the market that I would have taken you at least a full day to look at all the stuff there. I bought a lot of nifty stuff for cheap prices. I bought a laser pointer, cause why not? I also bought both a pair of headphones and a pair of ear buds for an amazing price of 70 Yuan (this equals a little more than 11 dollars of USD). Then when we were all done on our shopping extravaganza, we boarded the bus with our new goods and went to the Beijing airport to go back to the states. Well I was pretty sad that this trip was finally over. Fifteen amazing days of my summer was over. Man, I was dreading getting back to the States, where I know I would have to say goodbye to all of my new found, amazing friends. I was filled with bittersweet happiness. So then we got on the plane and went back to the states. So this was the conclusion of my trip to China.
Again, I would like to say how thankful I am to be able to have this opportunity to travel to China. I had the most amount of fun I had in a while there and learned a whole bunch about China and its culture. Without these people supporting me such as my parents, teachers such as Mrs. Li and Jennifer, the people at Hanban, and people at Hanban, and the people from the Confucius Institute, none of this would have been possible. Thank you guys so much for this opportunity. I hope this opportunity is still available for future students of TCCLS and let them have a chance to experience the amazingness of this Chinese Bridge Program that offers a once in a life time opportunity to go to China.