Enjoying a refreshing, stress-free vibe

Enjoying a refreshing, stress-free vibe

Jake MacLean It has only been two days and I still don’t know where to begin.

This trip is such a great opportunity for me to improve my Chinese, as well as learn more about the culture. Shandong is very beautiful, and the weather is not unlike the weather in the states.

The most difficult part of the trip has been adjusting to being so far away from home, though it’s interesting being a foreigner. So far, we have had a real Chinese banquet, a tour of the campus and part of the city, and a chance to speak to the locals.

I’m impressed by some students’ knowledge of English. Participating in the Renmin Park “English Corner” was very fun as well.

Our dorm is very big and empty. There is a water cooler, two bathrooms, and three bedrooms. There are air conditioning units in the bedrooms, which is very nice considering how hot it gets.

I can tell it’s going to take some getting used to, but I think living here will be a great experience. I miss my family very much, but luckily e-mail and web chat programs work here, so it is easy to stay in touch.

Today (June 6) was the first day of class. Our classroom is a student lounge with comfortable chairs and a water cooler. We are lucky to have that room for the duration of the trip.

After class, we went to lunch and played basketball with some of the SDUT students. I was astounded by the amount of people there were on the courts, but more so by the fact everyone is so friendly.

The vibe I get just from walking outside is so refreshing and stress-free. Everyone is anxious to speak to us and become our friend, and it’s a really great feeling.

We had dinner with our friend Alex, who has been helping us since we got here. I enjoy talking with him. He helps me with my Chinese, and I help him with his English.

I’m developing a sincere appreciation for everything I’m used to having
at home. After seeing some of the students’ living conditions, I feel very humbled. Alex shares one room with six other people. They have a hole in the ground for a toilet. Instead of a shower, they have a sink and a bucket.

And still, they are the happiest people I’ve ever met.

    — Jake MacLean, a senior Spanish major and Chinese minor