If I were to rewrite the famous Chinese song Beijing Welcomes You, I would have added a lot more details about daily life in Beijing: the obvious love people have for their families and their country, the cheap and efficient public transportation, the bustling nightlife, the cute children, and how amazed people are every time you manage a word of Chinese. Now that I am back in America, where there is no bus to take when I need to go places and no cheap ice cream when I’m craving a snack, I already miss my life in Beijing. But I know it won’t be long until I make my way back, so until then, all I can do is study hard.
After a summer in China, my exposure to the different governing system prickled my mind with interesting new thoughts regarding the positives and negatives of both communism and democracy and exfoliated into it intriguing new revelations about which method I believed to be the best, and why. My time in China has redefined the way I think about communism and democracy. On the one hand, I think democracy has advantages, but, on the other hand, so does communism. In addition, I learned something very important: even though I might have learned something ever since I was young, I can still have misconceptions and even be wrong concerning the issue.
How do you describe four weeks in China? The good friends, unforgettable experiences, amazing food, and cultural sights all come to mind. The moment I stepped off the plane in Beijing, I knew that I had made the right choice. This was my first trip to China so everything was new to me. Everything was exciting, from climbing the Great Wall to ordering from a picture menu to cramming our group onto the subway to studying Mandarin. Being with my friends from Wheaton was the icing on the proverbial cake, and I will never forget the many good times we shared. So how do you describe four weeks in China? Words won't do it justice. You'll have to go and see China for yourself!
I have learned many things about China during my time there. However, I have learned even more about my home country. I’m an American. If anything, living and studying in China has only made me more aware of this fact. Over my trips to this country, I have grown very sentimentally attached, and consider myself fairly comfortable living overseas. However, I’ve also noted that I never feel more patriotic than when I’m overseas. The Chinese name for America translates, “beautiful country” and while I admit my strong bias, I have to agree. I have always loved my home country, but if I had never visited China, I would never have truly known why.
Going into the trip I thought I would not learn as much, since I had already been to China before, however, I was definitely wrong. I have learned much more on this trip than I did my entire last visit to China. This is, in part because I know more of the language, but also because my eyes are more open and aware of the culture and history of the country. When walking through new cities or monuments, I think of things much differently. In the same way, when interacting with people, I am more aware of the culture. This has made for a very enriching trip to China. Every day I was here I was excited to walk around to see and hear new things.
One of the highlights for me in this Beijing trip was visiting the 3 churches in Beijing. I was really inspired by the leadership and the enthusiasm of the congregation. Often times, people don’t think that they can maintain their traditional Chinese culture after becoming a Christian. I hope to one day become fluent enough to be able to witness to my family members. Until then, the only way to share my faith is by showing Christ’s love to them by displaying a good example.
This trip to Beijing has opened my eyes to what Chinese culture truly is. While I have just gotten a spoonful of understanding during my four weeks there, I have learned that my Chinese heritage is incredibly complex and magnificently fascinating. The Chinese culture own customs, traits, and habits that are anything unlike American culture. In this way, through academic learning, social living, and church visiting, I have attained a deeper knowledge of Chinese culture and can more confidently further God’s kingdom as an increasingly whole and effective Christian.