Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
With Tai Chi, Calligraphy, and Chinese Painting Cultural Classes
"Sunday was a very fun, yet very hot, day! We were all able to call our parents for one hour. The morning was pretty laid back because the call times were staggered.
After that, in the afternoon, we went to The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We were able to walk around with our classes for both.
When we were at The Forbidden City, we went to a few small museums and looked at various buildings and areas. There were blurbs about every individual area and I really learned a lot.
Once we got back from sight-seeing, we had free time and could go out with friends for dinner. At night, we had a group dance where we were able to listen to Chinese music.
Today, was a more typical day. It is really hot outside, but the air quality is good! Like every week day, in the morning all of the students had three hours of class.
In my class, we learned about location and directions. We also learned about Beijing night life because tonight we are going to go out to the city to look at the traditional night life. In my class, we also have to interview someone about the night life.
After class, we went out to traditional Beijing lunch places in groups. My group went to a noodle place where the food was served family style.
Once we had lunch, all of the students went to culture classes. There is tai chi, calligraphy, and Chinese painting. Today, I had painting class. We painted a bridge in Beijing. It was very difficult, but turned out very pretty.
It is really interesting how this program incorporates Chinese into more aspects than just a traditional classroom setting. It really helps all students’ Chinese skills."
"Yesterday we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
We had lunch altogether as a group before heading to Tiananmen Square. It was very hot, but once inside the Forbidden City, the carvings and paintings on the palace were still beautiful to look at. We got ice cream in order to escape the heat and then headed on to see the throne room.
After admiring the various stone bridges and rivers throughout the complex, we headed back to Capital Normal University.
For dinner, I tried hot pot last night with a bunch of friends just down the road from the university.
Today we went back to Chinese class in the morning and learned about giving directions and getting around the city. We are off to the Exhibition Hall Square tonight, which I’m really excited about and can’t wait to try different foods and see the square dancing!"
"Today the MIL program’s most advanced class, referred to by the students here at MIL as “si ban,” took their Chinese language skills to new limits.
In a riveting, solely Chinese discussion, the students debated whether or not terrorists should have human rights. The question in English is challenging enough to answer, so when adding on a layer of language restriction, one can only imagine how much harder answering the question becomes.
Nonetheless, the students were incredibly engaged and, with help from dictionaries and their peers, were able to have a successful and insightful conversation. It is incredibly empowering to be able to utilize a second language to discuss such important topics, such as human rights issues in America, education issues worldwide, and even the flaws and dangers of Chinese traffic patterns.
The aforementioned story is just one instance of how MIL is pushing us students to really engage in hands on learning.
Everyone’s Chinese is improving by the minute and it will be extremely exciting to see what culminates at the end of the summer."
"The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are two places that come to mind when one thinks of Beijing. After seeing both, it makes complete sense why they are regarded as main attractions in this incredibly intriguing city.
The Forbidden City has over 100 houses which were each used to house the emperor of China. Explained to me by a friend, the reason for having so many houses was to help protect the emperor from any surprise attacks by civilians or from other countries.
This is because the king chose which house he would sleep in an hour before he went to sleep and would switch houses the next day. This way, if someone did decide to attack the Forbidden City it would take at least thirty to forty minutes to find the emperor, but by then he would have been gone, aware of the attack and down the escape route that was built in every house.
Besides the Forbidden City, all has been going well in China, the weather has been stellar of late and we all continue to learn more and more about the Chinese language and culture."