What Did I Expect?

What Did I Expect?

I think one of America’s biggest stereotypes of Chinese students is that they are very, well, studious. It may not always seem that American students are just as much, especially if you aren’t in university or don’t know many.

But trust me. Even in Chicago, even in Rome, especially in China, we American students have our nose to the grindstone! That’s really been what I’ve been up to. Study, study, study! I feel like I need to learn Chinese to talk to my grandparents and to get around here in Beijing, but if I never learned more I would be okay. Not too great, but alright.

Like I said last post, though, some people came here with no Chinese experience. In fact, one girl never left her home city before coming all the way here! She’s very brave. So everyone is studying very hard – I’m actually sitting in the quiet section of our lounge right now, and every sitting spot is taken. And it’s a Sunday night! The only sounds I can hear are the clicking of keys, the smacking of pens being flipped around, and music slipping out of people’s headphones. And the sipping of bubble tea.

Of course bubble tea! It’s China! Although boba has only swept into mainstream American foods/treats in the recent years, I have to say, we practically landed here right onto a bubble tea stand – I feel like there’s not an hour that goes by without me seeing the drink in someone’s hand. Here, you can get it warm too for this cold, cold weather. I never knew that in America! Trust me, if you haven’t tried bubble tea before, you absolutely should. Even if you don’t like tapioca pearls or the textures of the myriad other things you can put in it, there’s an endless variety of options. You can get it without the bubbles, in hundreds of ways! Plus here, unlike some places in the US that I’ve had, you can also get different levels of sugar and ice depending on your preference. Talk about endless options!

What else has been surprising but shouldn’t have? Well, I’m sure I already mentioned the heaven of food I have here. And how cheap everything is? This past weekend, I bought a blanket from the shop Uniqlo for 79 kuai, or about ten dollars. China’s really big on bike riding, and they have bike-sharing companies where you can rent a bike… for one kuai an hour. So if you bike twenty minutes to the mall like me, it’s just straight up free. Uh, yes please! Faster is less cold!

I guess another thing is that most students here at TBC aren’t from Loyola University Chicago. In Rome, I’d say about 80% of the students were LUC students, but here it’s less tightly knit with Chicago, so out of the 38 of us here, there are only maybe fifteen or so LUC students. Sure, we’re the biggest school here, but not the majority of people. Many people here are the only ones from their schools! But it makes it really fun and interesting. My Chinese classmate (since there’s only two of us) is from Stonehill College in the northeast, and their school is about the size of my highschool, so she knows practically everyone there. Whereas at Chicago, there’s more people I don’t know then people I do, which is the fun of it – there’s always more people to meet!

One of my favorite things here is that we’ve been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender together recently. Not all of us at the same time, of course, we can’t all fit on the couch, but that’s the fun of a common lounge only for us – friends can pop in and out as much as they want! I like this small group a lot. Many people are nervous for our upcoming two weeks in Yunnan province, though, because fourteen days in close quarters with 37 other people can be tricky and hard, especially for the introverts. The other Ricci scholars and I aren’t too worried, since we survived ten days in Greece with 50 people, but it should be an experience. Next week and the week after is Chinese New Year, and I’ll be on the road, so I may not be able to post much, but I’ll make it up to you! Hang tight, and I’ll see you on next time!


Also, no pictures again this week. So sorry! I had to battle the internet for a few hours today and we’re both tired from that match.

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