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A student practices working the fields with a water buffalo. Photo by Ming-Jiu-Li, China Summer Program.

Orientation Day 1!

After a long trip to Shanghai, we made it to our small hostel in Tangzhen, a suburb in the Pudong New Area. The hostel is quiet and beautiful; the surrounding area is not exactly sure what it wants to be! Tall towers and modern malls rise above small cornfields and older villages: the process of creative destruction (destructive creation?) marches on!

We spent much of today in a number of workshops and activities. The main goals: to learn about each other and how we work together, to think about our own goals and how we are approaching this trip, and to better understand a variety of topics related to cultural differences and safety. The group has been very willing to share ideas and communicate honestly and openly about their perspectives on what they see and experience.

One interesting episode occurred during lunch, when a group took an ultimately fruitless (but somewhat interesting) walk to do errands. While the bank was closed and the subway card machine wouldn’t accept the forms of payment we brought (cash, credit, debit…), we did get to wander around the neighborhood – and connect more with each other.

So far, it’s been rainy, but it’s warm enough that the rain is not unpleasant. Tomorrow, perhaps, amidst the busy orientation schedule, we’ll get those errands done. For now, the group is mostly asleep, slowly adjusting to the time change and eager to explore the fascinating world that is China!