After two weeks in China, you start to adjust to the differences in life in America and life in China. During the first week of classes, our professor who grew up in China gave us a simple acronym to live by during our stay: TINA. TINA stands for “This is not America.” I can attest that no truer words could be spoken about China. A lot of people feel that Chicago is a large city (and it probably is); however, Beijing dwarfs Chicago and even makes New York City seem tame. The amount of people that are packed into this city is absolutely mindboggling and it creates some situations that in your normal life, you would be uncomfortable with; however, in China you simply say TINA.
Over the past week, we had an opportunity to head to the court system in Beijing. Our original scheduled trip to the Supreme People’s Court was cancelled due to dignitaries that were coming in to view the Court. Instead, we went to the Beijing “High Court,” which would be the equivalent to the US Court of Appeals. It was a cool experience to get a tour of the courtroom and see the technology they employ during proceedings. You could tell right away that the court system is quite different when you walk in. In fact, in front of the panel of judges (no juries in China) were chairs with a locking bar that went from arm to arm! These chairs are used for criminal defendants when they appear in court. They do not get the luxury of sitting with their counsel during the proceedings.
This past weekend, our group went to Xi’an, which is home to the Terracotta Warriors, and is deemed to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It was an excellent experience.
We took the high-speed train from Beijing to Xi’an on Friday afternoon and then spent the weekend touring Xi’an. It was quite the change of pace. Xi’an is smaller than Beijing; however, it is still home to over 8 million people! After visiting the Warriors, we had the opportunity to bike around the City Wall, went to a market in the city for shopping, and finally capped the night with a water show.
The trip has certainly exceeded my expectations, and we still have two weeks to go. Some of the people on the trip are heading to Shanghai this weekend to spend some free time and others are staying in Beijing to continue to explore the city. During the upcoming week, we are heading to the Summer Palace, having a duck dinner, and touring the Great Wall. It will be a busy, but exciting week!
To learn more about the study abroad programs at Loyola Chicago, click here.