China 2006

Cohort II

From December 28-January 9, the students of Cohort II traveled to Shanghai, China. The trip was lead by Hannah Stewart-Gambino, former Program Director; Connie Cook, Professor of Chinese; and Patricia Engle, Teaching Fellow.

Trip highlights:

  • Visit to school for migrant workers' children
  • Tour of the colonial architecture in the Bund
  • Tour of the sights: Jade Buddha Temple, Xujiahui Cathedral, Xujiahui Business Center, and Huaihai Road Business Street
  • Day trip to Songjiang University
  • Visit to Shanghai City Planning Exhibition Center
  • Exploration of Shanghai Museum and Science and Technology Museum
  • Huangpu river cruise
  • Trip to the Pudong Economic Development Zone
  • Excursion to Suzhou
  • Visit to the American Consulate

"From the moment that we arrived on the Songjong campus I felt completely accepted by the students' greetings and appreciation. After following our leaders up to the tea room we had our first opportunity to meet and converse with our respective partners. Each student was so kind and welcoming towards us. Whether it was the simple ways that they made sure our tea cups were filled, their curious questions and detailed answers, or just the smiles on their faces, it was apparent that they were trying to make us feel as comfortable as possible. Together we participated in activities and performances that beneath the surface represented more than just fun and games. Two Chinese girls sang a famous Chinese song for us, and we followed by singing an American favorite by John Denver. We exchanged and shared our different cultures and our different worlds with one another. We were a group of strangers brought together by a scheduled meeting, but the connections that we made that day were completely by chance. Although we each came from different backgrounds and cultures, we were able to laugh and smile together as we enjoyed each other's company. At one point during our "celebration" we all took hands and danced in a circle around the room. To me, the circle that we created was more than just simply participating in a Chinese dance. It was evidence that cultures can come together and that people with different pasts and nationalities can still connect, teach others about their lives and traditions, and learn about one another. Interestingly enough, I realized that through these interactions and conversations with our Chinese partners, I was learning more about myself, my own ambitions and the person who I want to be." - Molly Cramsey, Cohort II

“The extreme differences between the rich and the poor, the presence of an informal economy, and thewretchedness of the poor all lead to reflections on the nature of poverty. I know that I have only experienced a brief glimpse of life in Shanghai through a short two week excursion into the unknown. Though my trip was short-lived I have learned a lot or rather realized to a much greater extent how little I know. Right before we were about to leave the market we all decided that it was so cold and that we wanted to get some bubble tea. Shortly after purchasing the bubble tea a young boy came over to all of us and longingly looked at our warm drinks. I could tell that he wanted to feel the warmth throughout his whole body. It was so hard for me to look at him; I just had to give him my bubble tea. The smile that he flashed me afterward made the sacrifice well worth it. To know that he could be happy, if only for a short while, brightened my whole day.” –Tina Stegura, Cohort II

“After two short weeks, we not only left with new Chinese friends and an exceptional international cultural experience with a Chinese flair, but the magic of Shanghai brought all of us closer together. We left the United States as a group of good friends and classmates, and returned with a deeper closeness, as though we had been born and raised together.” –Kristine Mayer






from left to right:
Chinese Pizza Hut, an interesting example of globalization
Chinese art, mixing history and modernity
Old China meets new China in architecture