Initial Impressions: My initial impressions of China are great. We drove in from the airport early on a Saturday morning, so the traffic was not bad and the air was fairly clean. We went to the bank and transferred our money to yuan without any problems, but I can already tell the language barrier may be an issue. We went to lunch after the bank and I ordered from a picture menu. I pointed at an item that looked like a standard Chinese chicken dish. My plate then took the longest to come out. When it finally came out, it was not at all what I ordered. It was a massive fish. The fish had its head on and everything. I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, so this was not the best first impression, but I managed to buy some dumplings on the street that were pretty good. I have already found that everything in China is fairly cheap. You can get a decent size lunch for only $2 US dollars. We have also learned why the air is so clean right now. Beijing is hosting the One Belt One Road conference. Foreign leaders from many countries are in attendance and therefore the city was allowed to turn off all the factories. The citizens love when they host large events such as the Olympics because the factories are shut off and the air is a lot cleaner. The downside to the conference is a lot more traffic and areas such as Tiananmen Square are closed off to the public. I have had a great time visiting the other cultural sites though. The Great Wall was incredible and our guide took us to the perfect section. There was hardly any people there which made for great pictures. I am looking forward to more cultural visits in Xi’an. The citizens are all very friendly to the Americans. In all honesty, they are almost too friendly. They love to take pictures with us and of us. They ask our tour guide where we are from and they smile when he says the United States. I’m still not sure why their culture loves the American culture. Hopefully, this is something I can find out in the next few days.

 

What I learned about China: Now that my trip has concluded, I have learned so much about China that I never knew. Between the cultural visits and the lectures from the Beijing professors, I now have some insight into the country. First off, I learned so much about the culture. The reason the Chinese love the Americans is because they 1) hardly get to meet and talk with Americans and 2) they associate the United States with money and think many of us are very wealthy. I find this fascinating that the citizens of the country love the American culture and way, but the government is almost anti-American especially when it comes to business. The Chinese government continues to resist the United States businesses in order to further the state-owned enterprises. The Chinese temperament is also different than Americans. If you watch the Chinese drive in Beijing, it is very crazy, but people don’t seem to be upset. In a large city in the United States such as Los Angeles, there is the same amount of traffic, but way more honking and people getting mad. Another thing I learned about China is how advanced they are. China has especially made transportation a priority. I not only learned this from visiting China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), but also from riding the high-speed railway. China has invested in the right areas in order to make travel throughout the country easy for the citizens. It seems as though the United States is starting to expand in this area, but is still behind China. Lastly, I learned a lot about communism. China has adopted some aspects of capitalism but still remains very much communist. I especially realized this when trying to go on United States websites. Almost all social media was blocked and Google was a prohibited website. The government just wants to censor disturbing images and information from the citizens of China.