到了北京!Made it to Beijing!

Finally the endless amount of traveling (3 weeks) is over and I have arrived in the big city of Beijing. While I absolutely loved all my (mis)adventures hopping from city to city, I am really excited to settle into my new home for the next 3.5 months and get a routine going. Sometimes the activity of moving from place to place and constantly readjusting to new surroundings can be a little overbearing; it will be nice to have a single “home” for the next semester.

I arrived in Beijing two days before my semester orientation program actually began so I stayed in a hostel at first. I stayed in the Qianmen hostel which has an amazing location. I was literally a five minute walk from Tiananmen square and 15 minutes from the forbidden city. The hostel is wedged in this neighborhood of crowded alleys and  side streets filled with lots of cramped restaurants, people hawking the usual assortment of knock-off shoes and Mao memorabilia, and lots of small cigarette shops.

Although the area was overflowing with interesting places we really didn’t explore that much because we were all wiped out from traveling so much. Just resting in one place was a great change of pace from the constant movement of our traveling. Instead we chose such activities as passing an afternoon (well, more like one whole day) in the upstairs of a starbucks drinking caffeinated beverages and hanging out on the internet (we deserved it!). The coolest experience I had during this time was an afternoon jog I took straight through Tiananmen square. After studying this at school and learning the significance this space holds in defining and challenging modern China I couldn’t believe I could so easily and leisurely jog through it. There were tons of military troops and people around and security is tight (you can’t visit at night), but I still couldn’t believe I was actually in such an important space.

The next day I parted ways with my American friends and finally headed to school. My school is on the Western side of Beijing in a more quiet neighborhood far away from the tourist sites in the middle of the city. However, at the time of my arrival I was not aware that my school 首都师范大学 (Capital Normal University) has 2 separate campuses. Of course, the taxi driver brought me to the wrong one! This caused massive amounts of confusion as I hopelessly dragged my suitcases around asking everyone I saw where the International Culture Plaza (my new home) was. When I finally discovered I was in the wrong place I had to catch another cab and ride the 5 minutes down the road to the other side of the split campus.

Finally  I arrived at my dorm and was immediately surprised at how different it was from the place I stayed in Hangzhou. In Hangzhou I stayed in the foreign students dorm but it at least felt like a conventional college dorm. The dorm I am in now staying is actually managed by a company that owns and operates hotels. Therefore, my dorm is more like a giant hotel filled with foreign students than any sort of conventional dormitory (or at least what I am used to at Bowdoin). Hangzhou did not have nearly as many foreign students; we had only about 40 foreign kids in out building. This place is completely different as this “hotel” is brimming with foreign students with very few Chinese students in sight. People from all over the world come here to study and I have already met tons of Korean, European, American, and Australian kids. I am excited to see how being in such an extremely diverse place will be.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what Beijing has to offer and am still getting acclimated to the new neighborhood. I am really grateful to have this opportunity to study and explore the city for the next 3.5 months. The bulk of my time abroad will be spent here so its is awesome to finally begin living and studying in the place I have been excitedly anticipating for the last 2 months.


1 Response to “到了北京!Made it to Beijing!”

  1. September 6, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Yo Chris… It’s Lindsey. Since I graduated I’ve been a little (lot) nostalgic and I tend to creep on the Bowdoin Sun when I’m bored… and thus I happened upon your adventures. Sounds like you are having a great time–I just thought I’d say hi! Hope all is well and when we return from our separate adventures, I will see you in the Spring! Hooray for graduating and then… returning.

    Peace. Suerte. Lindsey

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