Presents for family ... quite the challenge

Presents for family ... quite the challenge

Stephanie Diehl

Meet ... Stephanie Diehl

China Study Abroad Major: International Business
Location: Beijing, China
Studying: Spending four weeks immersed in the Chinese culture while visiting majestic, historical sites and studying at the prestigious Institute of Chinese as Second Language of Peking University.

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I find it rather ironic that in a country, whose population is about 1.3 billion people; most of who are boys and men, most shops and vendors have gifts targeted more for women.

There were so many times I walked into a store trying to buy a gift for my brothers, my boyfriend or my father and walking right back out because there items such as jewelry, handbags, etc. all for women.

After going the whole month without finding much in the way of gifts for boys, I finally had decided to just get a couple T-shirts, which is always a good gift. I just find it weird that there are much more men than women in China and yet, there are so many shops with things just for women.

Early and still almost late

When going to the airport for an international flight, you need to make sure you get there a few hours early in order to make sure you pass through all securities and bag checks, and because traffic in Beijing is the second worst traffic in the world. We had to leave extra early.

For this reason, we left for the airport around 11 a.m. and getting at the airport around noon. Getting through security did not take much time. Around 1 p.m. we were able to walk around the airport while we waited for our flight at 4 p.m., giving us three hours to walk around, get lunch and shop for last minute gifts.

After talking to the group one last time in China, we each went on our way to do what we needed to do. It’s amazing how fast time can go though, because the next time we looked at the time, it was already a little after 3:30 p.m., giving us little time to find where we left our things and board the plane.

Since it was a pretty big airport, we couldn’t find our way at first, so we had to run, similar to Home Alone in the scene where they almost missed their flight, though we probably didn’t have to run. We ended up making it back with time to spare, though I do find it ironic how we were there so early and still almost managed to take too much time shopping and miss the flight.

Taking the teachers out for lunch

Just because you’re in a different country doesn’t mean you necessarily get to experience the new culture. You could always go down to a fast food restaurant, and even though it would be a little different from home; it would keep you from trying new food.

This is why we went on cultural meals in which we would have to try new foods and enjoy the different atmosphere. For our last ethnic meal, we were able to invite our teachers out to lunch to a restaurant they could choose. This was a very nice way that we could show our thanks for teaching us — and at the same time — get to enjoy the place they like eating at.

It was very interesting to eat with our teachers, because at home eating with my teachers is not something I’ve ever thought about doing — sharing meals would have seemed even more odd. Since it’s all part of the culture, and it was nice way to get to say our goodbyes.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven
After our last day of classes, we were to board a bus and get to travel to the last spot we were to get to see in China. After seeing so many places in China, I realized that many of the buildings look a lot alike, though it was still a nice place to visit.

It was very interesting because we got to see where the Chinese once thought was the center of the earth. The only thing that I disliked about the Temple of Heaven was that there was no bathroom.

This made me wonder why there was no bathroom built here and what the people did when they came here and needed to go. All in all, it was a nice last adventure to wrap up our trip.


Being in a new class is always fun, with the ability to meet new people and make new friends. This was especially true when we started our classes, because we got to meet new people from all around the world. At first, yes, it can be a little awkward when first getting to know each other; however after this it is interesting to learn about the other cultures and learn about their experiences.

It’s never fun saying goodbye though. After four weeks of classes with each of these people, four hours a day, five days a week, we had to pack our things and say goodbye — knowing we may never see each other again, hoping we would and gaining not only knowledge about the Chinese culture, but other cultures as well.

    — Stephanie Diehl, international business major