Hard to Find Versus Easy to Find


With my summer here coming to a close, I would like to mention some things that I saw in China that I will not find in the United States:

  1. women carrying parasols to create their own personal shade from the sun
  2. men rolling their shirts up to cool down as they walk around
  3. bold Chinese fashion ranging from platform shoes to colorful and cute styled t-shirts
  4. authentic Chinese food (maybe with the exception of Chinatown)
  5. adults and elderly people exercising, doing handstands or tai chi, and dancing in parks
  6. ginormous shopping centers (the largest I’ve ever seen)
  7. dogs walking alongside behind their owners without leashes
  8. electric scooters carrying entire families around (ex. Parents and a child)
  9. people bargaining at street vendors and in shops
  10. people playing Chinese chess or other games on the street


In terms of things I cannot easily find in China, churches are less common. Even though the amount of people equals that of Notre Dame Basilica mass attendees, China has a very low number of churchgoers. When I went to mass in China the process was standard. I’m not quite sure how to explain why, but the hymns had more of a Chinese feel to me. Honestly, I did not understand any of the mass because I have only learned secular vocabulary.

Lastly, any type of study abroad makes for a unique immersive language experience that cannot be provided in the United States. The language pledge was key for our progress. The teachers are aware of our vocabulary, grammar, and capabilities; they speak clearly and slowly for us. On the streets of Beijing however, people speak casually at faster speeds and often with accents or slang. In engaging with local Beijingers I felt that my listening comprehension made the biggest improvement. I was more hesitant to speak, for fear of mispronunciation. When people do not understand me I easily become discouraged. But it is in speaking despite my self-consciousness that I improve.