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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Students experience Asia (Part 4)

Monday, October 1, 2007  
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By Erin Minor

The past week has been very eventful for the Pac Rim 2007 group. They have traveled to Xi’an, Huxian, and Shanghai in China. They have also spent time in the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo in Japan.

While visiting Xi’an Polytechnic University, many of the OC students ate polmogrante for the first time. This semester, the university has over 8,000 students enrolled. OC students were given the opportunity to speak with Chinese students who were studying English. Carrie had a conversation with one of the Chinese students and learned that it takes years of planning for a Chinese student to consider the thought of coming to America. Teh student said she “would need to have at least $10,000 USD in her checking account to prove she would be able to support herslef financially,” Carrie stated. In addition, Chinese students must be capable of speaking the English language fluently enough to pass a verbal and written test before leaving the country.

After a two hour drive, the Pac Rim group arrived in Huxian county. This was a new experience for the students since they had only been to highly populated areas in China such as Beijing and Shanghai. They were split into groups of four and met the local family they would be staying with for the next few days. Harriet recalls her first reaction of the house she would be staying in saying, “I was suprised at how big the house was. I was expecting to have to stay in a small shack and share a bed with one of the other girls in my group. Instead, there were two seperate rooms, each with two beds.” Later, the students learned that most of the houses they were staying in were paid for by the government. The students interacted with the people in the community by visiting the village school, schucking corn, and taking a paper cutting class.

The schedule for the group was almost diverted due to a typhoon that nearly hit Shanghai. Fortunately, the students made it safely as planned and immediately started exploring the city. The subway system was much more complex than the system in Beijing, but the students quickly learned their way around. Many of the students visited the world’s third tallest TV and radio tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Other popular sites included the Jin Mao Building, Yuyuan Gardens, and the Shanghai Modern Arts Museum.

The students have been in Japan for about three days now. Their first stop was the city of Kyoto, with a population close to 1.5 million people. The group was eager to find foods that were not readily accesible in China, including sushi, donuts, and various types of seafood such as octopus. One of the first places they visited was Nijo Castle. It was built in 1603 and has been open to the public since 1939. Lisa thoroughly enjoyed the gardens at the castle. “There were so many scenic paths and I loved the smells that came from the different types of plants in the gardens,” she said. Another historic site the group visited was the Golden Pavillion. Much like it’s name, the Golden Pavillion consists of a Golden temple where numerous Japanese people can come to worship on a daily basis.

The Pac Rim group has recently arrived in Tokyo, where they will be spending a few days before leaving for Ibaraki Christian University. They will reside in various host family’s homes and take several classes at Ibaraki Christian University for nearly one month before departing for New Zealand. Their journey continues as the weeks ahead hold more adventure for them than they know.

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