After saying our goodbyes to the students in Nanjing it was time for us to head to Beijing for the final leg of our journey. We took the bullet train from Nanjing and let me just say it was probably on one of the most impressive modes of transportation I have ever taken. The distance from Nanjing to Beijing is 630 miles and a normal train would take 9 hours to get there. The bullet train got us there in three hours almost a third of the time it would take for a regular train to get there, which was absolutely incredible.

Waking up on the first morning, the weather was sunny and ninety five degrees. The itinerary included a trip to Tiananmen Square and the forbidden city. When we first arrived at Tiananmen Square I was in awe at the sheer size of it and its location within the city of Beijing. There are currently six rings that encompass the city and each ring connects all of the different parts of Beijing. Tiananmen Square is locate exactly in the center of these six rings, which puts it at the heart of the city. While walking through the square you see Chairman Maos Mausoleum and the lines of people that are about to go in to pay their respects to the man that changed the country of China. There is also a pillar in front of the Mausoleum, and the Great Hall of the People where legislation occurs. All political members across the country meet in that building. Across from Tiananmen Square is the entrance to the Forbidden City, which also plays an important role in the country’s history.

Great Hall of the People

The forbidden City was the living place for the countries emperors, and it is called the forbidden city because common people were not allowed to enter. If they did enter they were immediately killed. Walking around and seeing all the architecture, the colors, and the size of the city just goes to show you the history and the architecture the Chinese have. There are different sections of the palace, which include rooms where the emperor met with officials, rooms where parties and gatherings occurred, and the living quarters, and the garden which was located at the very end of the city. Looking back at it if I was the emperor I would be so sick of walking, because it’s so big.

Panorama Of the Forbidden City

After the Forbidden City we got lunch and headed to a counterfeit market. In China there are many of these places that sell counterfeit goods. Many of the products look identical to the real thing, however they are not. The whole point is to negotiate prices with them, for example a shirt that I bought had a starting price of 800 Yuan, roughly 114 dollars. The final price we agreed on was 200 Yuan, which is about 28 dollars. I purchased all of my gifts from this market and ended up paying a lot less than going to a souvenir store. This was a good experience because I like to negotiate and I had a lot of fun doing it. At night six of us decided to get lost in Beijing, so we took the subway to a street with a lot of shops and found a restaurant that had superb food.

The next day was a day that I had been waiting for since the trip started, going to the Great Wall of China. At first glance you don’t really see much, however once you start climbing it and getting higher up in the mountains you really get to see how immaculate and amazing the Great Wall really is. You see it in pictures and movies, but you never get to really appreciate the construction, beauty, and the mystery the Great Wall possesses. We only had two hours to get as far as we could, so Evan Danny, Mike, Liam, and I just booked it. The climb consisted of steep drops, steep inclines, and a lot of steps. We ended up going three miles and when we finally sat down to rest it finally hit us that we were on The Great Wall of China, one of the wonders of the world. The trek back however was not as easy. Since we went downhill for about a mile we had to go back uphill, which was probably one of the most grueling things I have ever done. The climb was almost vertical, and after we got off the wall my legs were shaking due to the intensity of the trek, but it was all worth.

Steps on The Great Wall
Danny, Me, Liam, Mike, Evan on The Great Wall

After looking back at this whole trip and realizing the situation that I put myself in, traveling to a new country, surrounding myself with people who I was unfamiliar with  I can honestly say it was all worth it. This trip was probably one of the best experiences of my life and I am forever grateful that I took this opportunity to study abroad in China.

Nanjing Week 2

Week 2 began with a trip to a Buddhist temple. In China there are many Buddhist temples mainly in the mountains. As we are walking through the temple I noticed all of the bright colors and the figures on buildings. There were many pictures depicting dragons various other animals, and of course Buddha. After the temple we went back to the lake we were at week 1. We wanted to take taxis to get home, but didn’t want to pay for them, so we devised a plan to get across the lake with the boats you could rent, but once we got to the other side the worker wasn’t having it and turned us back around right where we started. Two hours later we ended up spending the money for the cab. Looking back on that whole situation I can’t help but laugh because in our heads it was a great idea and it failed.

On Sunday we went to Doctor Sun Yat Sens Mausoleum. Doctor Sun was a very important man in Chinas history who treated many of the sick and eventually became the president of China. It was 95 degrees outside and the walk was long. Once you get to the mausoleum it’s another 400 steps to get to the top, and the reasoning for this is to show the people of China that the journey is long and nothing comes easy. Once I got to the top I realized it was long journey and there will be a long road ahead of me as a person to grow and learn.

On Monday we did not go to class and instead visited some companies. The first one was China Unicom and China Unicom is one of the largest telecom companies in China. When we toured the facility, I was impressed with all the work they have done. They are also in the process of bringing 5G to life. We went on a bus that had 5G on it and were blown away by the speed of the technology.

The second half of the day we toured an incubator where people with the proper resources gather to work on different projects. Half way through the tour guide brought us into a room with over a hundred tea kettles. We sat down and he said the problem with todays society is that everyone is in a rush and no one sits down to enjoy the simple things. He showed us how to brew Chinese tea the traditional way. We then enjoyed a cup of black teas, which was phenomenal. We then discussed his journey and his experiences and how he got to where he is today. He was probably one of the most interesting people I have ever talked to because when he speaks he uses philosophy to explain his logic. He would say things like slow is faster, which looking back at it he is probably right. Rushing through things and getting them done quickly makes you miss so many points  

In the class room we began to really work on our project that we had to present at the end of the class. Our project was called Life Pod and is an emergency shelter that can be set up by four unskilled laborers during times of crisis and natural disaster. For the project we really began to dig deep into the specifics like the business model canvas, competitors, and the overall market for our product. We had our presentation Friday and I felt we did well as a group and that Life Pod can be a useful product.

I learned a lot of new things from my group members and the students themselves. It’s interesting to think that a group of strangers who have never met before can just become so close and create close friendships in such a short amount of time. I think one of the greatest lessons I learned after completing this project is that life is all about adapting to certain situations and being able to overcome certain obstacles that can be very challenging. The most difficult part about this trip has been the language barrier. Communication is an important part of our daily lives and for the past two weeks I have had to really try hard to get by. Pointing at items to shop keepers using my body to communicate it’s been a challenge however at the same time it’s been fun, watching people’s reactions and getting excited when we finally get what we want. The people of China are probably the friendliest I’ve ever met and for that I am grateful for being able to study in a country where the people are accepting.

Next stop Beijing!!!

Top of the mausoleum

Buddhist Temple

Nanjing Week 1


When we got off the plane and into the van to take us to the hotel I knew that this trip was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Once we got off the van into the hotel we regrouped and relaxed for a little bit. After about an hour or so a member in our group suggested we go to the bank to grab Chinese currency. We asked the lady at the front desk where the nearest bank was, her response was walk 2 minutes then take a right. We listened to her directions and immediately got lost. We began walking down a busy street with many small shops selling fruit, meat and all types of fish as well as restaurants. To our left there was a women selling live shrimp in a bucket jumping around with a bowl of eels right next to it, and to our right a man selling goldfish out of the back of his bicycle. We all looked at each other and were taken back by the daily life of the residents in Nanjing. The next day we went to a lake, which was more of an amusement park than a lake. The park had many gift stores, and small sops that sold clothes food, and other trinkets. There were performers acting out skits and plays in traditional Chinese garments. Overall I enjoyed my time at the lake, and learned a lot about Chinese culture and tradition.


When we landed in Honk Kong I was amazed by all the different types of food that were in the airport. Dried scallops, dried fish, exotic candies, and beverages that I have never seen before. Our first meal in Nanjing consisted of bamboo, which was soft tender and tasted like beef there was also Tibetan cabbage, a beef dish, Chinese pumpkin, broccoli, and a chicken, head and feet included. When walking on the streets you will notice small tubs filled with crawfish, when I asked one of the Chinese students why there were so many shops selling them she said that it was the season. In the states crawfish are a popular dish down South in Louisiana where there is an abundance of the tiny Lobsters. I suggested to the group that we try them and everyone agreed, so we went into a local restaurant near the campus. The meal began with barbequed meat, pork, and whole mackerel on a stick. After we finished with the first course the crawfish came and it was a lot of fun just to take them apart to get the tiny little bit of meat that is edible on the tiny crustacean. They were delicious and I was very happy I got to experience that. We also had hot pot, which consists of a pot in the middle with different types of broths. The objective is to cook your own meat. We ordered squid, chicken, beef, potatoes, noodles, quail eggs and threw everything into the pot. When the food is ready to be eaten it floats to the top and absorbs the flavor of the broth. I will say this was the most laborious meal we had due to the intensity of the heat and having to fish for food with chop sticks, but it was delicious.


The class began with the introduction of each groups team members. We were quickly broken up and did a quick ice breaker. The following day is when the class really started. We were introduced to the project and given a few challenges we had to complete. One project started with one of the professors from NUJPT giving us one hundred dollars and trying to make as much money as we can with that initial investment. Our group decided to teach English classes. We made only thirty Yuan because we couldn’t find enough people to join, but it was a fun exercise. The class itself is very interesting, because I want to apply what I learn here in China back in the United States to potentially create my own business. Professor Mehta gave very informative lectures on how to put your thoughts together and create something.

Mackerel on Stick

View of Nanjing from the Lake