Random Assortment of Links

Useful resources for learning about contemporary China:

 English language Sinica Podcast

James Fallows - not always China-related, but always interesting

What's going on in Beijing:

City Weekend - Beijing

The Beijinger

China Daily's Beijing Weekend 

Beijing Weather - Weather Underground


Useful language learning tools

Chinesepod podcast - free beginners' podcasts

Popup Chinese podcast - another very good podcast series

Hacking Chinese - interesting ideas on learning Chinese efficiently

Skritter character-learning tool for iPad/iPhone - really fun app

Sinosplice - John Pasden's site on many interesting aspects of China and the Chinese language



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Monday May 8th

Today we visited the Temple of Heaven which was visited by emperors where they would pray to Heaven for good harvest. 

Afterwards, we headed to Beijing Normal University's Virtual Reality Lab where we were introduced to the amazing technology there! We then headed to class and worked with our peers on our research proposals.




Free Day in Beijing


Today was our first free day to explore Beijing, relax and catch up on sleep.

Several of us started our day with dumplings from Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop before heading to the Botanical Gardens.

We enjoyed walking around the Botanical Gardens and exploring the Tropical Conservatory.

After the Botanical Gardens we grabbed lunch at a local restaurant and walked through some of the shops near our Hostel.



First outing

Yesterday we visited the Lama Temple as our first outing. The air quality was quite bad, so many of our group wore masks, but otherwise the day was nice and people seemed impressed with the sites of the temple. (click on link for full-size picture).


千里之行始于足下 - qiānlǐzhīxíng shǐyúzúxià - a journey of a thousand li begins with a single footstep

Many "Chinese" sayings in English are fake, but this one is not. Apparently it's from the Dao de jing, which I didn't realize until I looked it up now. Tomorrow most of us will take the first steps toward our rendezevous in Beijing on May 2 and this year's Global Course Connections - Beijing trip. This weekend was graduation and it was exciting to see how accomplished the former participants on these trips have become. This year's group has a lot to live up to, but I expect that it will be an exciting, productive, educational, fun, and occasionally frustrating trip for everyone. I'm glad, and honored, to be along for this journey.





Class, Art, BMW & Movies!

Today was overall an awesome day! My day started off very nicely because I got to try the pork sausage egg and cheese McMuffin at McDonalds. It is always nice to compare the McDonalds oversees. I really enjoyed the sandwich and couldn’t tell the difference between my breakfast sandwich in the states. It was nice to just get a bit of American food after days of eating only Chinese food.

Waiting for my breakfast sandwich at McDonalds

After breakfast we had our three-hour class with the BNU students, where we finished watching the videos that were comparing Chinese, Japanese, and American preschools. We engaged in more discussions and learned more about our differences.

We then went to a part of town that had beautiful art work displayed outside for everyone to see. I saw many beautiful pieces. My favorite piece of art was a statue of three girls who appeared to be dancing. They also appeared to be women of color which made me even more excited. Just down the street from the art, there was a BMW museum that we went to. I was amazed upon walking in as it was so futuristic and far beyond my imagination. There was a huge circular room that had screens all around the wall. It played a short video in both Chinese and English, which talked about the future of the BMW and the vision that they shared. I talked to several of the employees there and all of them emphasized the fact that everything they showed in this museum is the vision that they have for the future, not something that they had already obtained. They even created a model car of what they proposed the BMW is to look like in the future, which was really cool. My favorite part was when we got to participate in a virtual reality. They had goggles prepared for people to look in and see the inside of the future BMW car. You could move around and look at different things. It was as if you were actually inside of the vehicle. It was so much fun!

Piece of Art!

The future BMW car!

Trying to mimic the dance of these beautiful statues!

 Jessica entering into a virtual reality of the BMW!

We arrived back to our dorm in time to get ready for the movies. We met with a few of the BNU students at 5:15 who were kind enough to get our movies tickets in advance. We all walked over to the movie theater and immediately after walking in our noses were filled with the glorious smell of the popcorn. It smelled like maple syrup and made me want to instantly buy some. It tasted both sweet and salty, but mostly sweet. We walked into the theater and saw that it was enormous, bigger than any theater I had ever been in. Apparently we were in the largest movie theater in Asia! We got our 3-D glasses and enjoyed Captain America, which was about two hours long. Luckily the movie was in English and had Chinese subtitles. Although I had never watched any Captain Americas before that, it was very easy for me to follow along and really enjoy it. I had an awesome day and I am looking forward to what tomorrow has to bring!