Hiram College

Written by Victoria Fallucco ’21

This blog post was written in response to Victoria’s experiences on her spring 2018 3-week trip to China with Professor Xinlu Yu.

Before coming to China, I never thought that I would have fallen in love with it as much as I did. I studied Chinese in high school for two years, but I never thought I would have the chance to go to China. During the three weeks there, we went to four amazing cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. I don’t think that I could pick a favorite place, because every city had an amazing aspect that I fell in love with.

The most important thing that I had to do on this trip was keep an open mind. If I didn’t keep an open mind, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the trip as much as I did.  I tried so many new foods including eel, raw salmon, intestine, lamb, sheep, shrimp (with the head on), dragon fruit, bean curd soup, and many others. I also found out that I don’t prefer to eat intestine and I don’t think I ever will again. The bathroom situations were also very different, and I don’t think I would have been able to use one if I didn’t have an open mind. There were also many new smells, including stinky tofu.

Overall, this experience has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I have met so many wonderful people that I can call lifetime friends. I have made many professional connections as well, including a possible internship in the future. This experience has changed my view of China in many ways. Many people believe that China is a big scary place, but I felt safer in China than I have recently in America and studies have shown that China is safer than the U.S. The biggest crime committed, in China, is pocket picking. The Chinese people are very nice and friendly and even though I didn’t speak fluently, I could still communicate with them through non-verbal communication. A simple smile could speak a thousand words.

Throughout this experience, I have gained a greater knowledge of many global issues. I also have a better understanding and appreciation of other cultures including their beliefs and values. I learned a lot about Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. I feel more prepared to cope with unfamiliar  and challenging situations and I am more capable of communicating effectively with opposing viewpoints. Lastly, I am more curious than before about other cultures and different ways of life. Because of this experience, I am looking into continuing the development of my Chinese language skills, exploring options to study Chinese with a more serious tone. I am also looking into programs that will allow me to teach English to Chinese children.