I arrived in Beijing last Thursday night after a grueling 15 hour flight on Air China. I was a little worried about my flight over to China because I had heard bad reviews about Air China such as, there are no TV screens on the plane and the service is bad, but to my great joy, there was a TV and the service was great! I watched about 5 movies on the way over to Beijing (my brain literally felt like mush after watching all those movies) which kept me entertained for most of the ride. I also sat next to someone in my program so we stuck together and made our way to the school. I was very surprised that customs in China was not as intense as I had imagined it to be. For some reason I expected to have the customs person ask me a list of questions, search through my luggage, etc., but the person never asked me a question. So going through customs was a breeze!
When we arrived at the dorms, we were greeted with a nice dinner and after that I fell asleep. But I woke up around 4 am due to jet lag. For the next couple of days, we had an orientation extravaganza. We sat through many different lectures and they sent us around Beijing on a scavenger hunt. On our scavenger hunt, my teammates and I had to go to a famous lake located in Beijing University. When we were there we saw a professor, who teaches at Beijing University, doing calligraphy with these gigantic brushes. We were instantly amazed and asked if we could take a picture with him. Not only did we get a picture with him, but he kindly offered to write our names in Chinese!
School started about 4 days ago. I have a daily quiz (tingxie) and lots of reading from my area studies classes. So my daily routine consists of getting up early to study for my daily quiz, then going to class, after class I either have an area studies class or I study to prepare for my next class.
On another note, yesterday I went on a Tiananmen Trifecta! We started off at the Beijing Urban Planning Museum, then we went to Tiananmen Square, and finally we finished off at the Forbidden City. In total it was about a 3.5 mile walk, so I was exhausted and hungry by the end. In addition, it started to pour on us halfway through our walk in the Forbidden City. But luckily, I brought an umbrella (props to weather.com).
Those are just some major highlights of my first week…more to come as the semester goes on!