Kellie – UNCC300 Beijing – ACU Winter Break 2016
Going to China to complete UNCC300 as part of the Core Curriculum was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. From the minute I was offered a place on the trip I experienced many different feelings and emotions, from excitement to nerves and everything in between! When the unit was released on LEO and I started packing, it hit home as to how real it was, I was actually going to China!
After some flight delays and changes, and a long 20 hour journey, all delays considered, I was finally in Beijing at 3:30AM, blurry eyed and very excited! After a few hours waiting at the airport with other students who had also arrived on delayed flights, we were picked up by our lovely host Meg from the Beijing Centre, her professionalism and friendliness made me feel welcome from the moment she arrived and from that moment I knew that I had made the right choice to go on the trip.
After arriving at our accommodation on a bus ride into the mega city that is Beijing (I have never seen a city this enormous!) and meeting our friendly, funny and very supportive host Bill from the TBC, I went to explore the surrounding area. The TBC is located in a university in a suburban part of Beijing between the third and fourth ring roads, a pleasant area surrounds with many more trees and plants than I had imagined! The traffic however was everything I imagined and more! Crossing the road in Beijing and other places throughout the trip became a group effort, though I felt confident by the end to cross alone!
After a welcome dinner and meeting the other students on the first night, including my lovely roommate, we headed onto the university campus and into the TBC for an chat with Bill and our UNCC300 teacher Roger. This set the bar for what we were to expect in the coming days and weeks and I was not disappointed!
Classes included UNCC300 as well as Chinese language, Chinese spiritual life, Chinese business and Economics and Chinese culture. I found these classes to be an invaluable way to learn about and begin to understand the life of Chinese people and made the excursions we had to Xi’an and Shang’hai very interesting, having had only a small understanding of the language and culture of
the amazing country that is China before I left!
We explored many sites in Beijing including the Grand Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as well as a visit to the Australian embassy to vote as it was federal election time at home! We were lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to travel through the ever sprawling mega cities and beautiful mountainous rural areas on overnight trains and a bullet train for trips to and from Xi’an and Shanghai. These trips gave us an opportunity to have a small break from classes to explore the old and the new, Xi’an, a beautiful old city with a smaller feel (mind you, there is still over four million residents, but this is considered small in China!) and Shanghai with its new and modern buildings contrasting with the old Shanghai. Many laughs, good times and jokes as well as ever lasting friendships were formed along the way.
On return to Beijing it was back to the TBC for a final week of classes and a trip to the Great Wall of China. This was one of the most defining moments of my life, to stand on the Great Wall of China, I still have goosebumps thinking of my time there. We wrapped up the trip with a final dinner and there were many goodbye tears shed and hugs shared.
This trip to China to study the Core Curriculum exceeded all expectations and I cannot thank ACU more for affording me to opportunity to have this experience. I was so impressed with Bill, Meg and Lily from the TBC as well as the interns that gave us guidance and assistance, without these guys, the trip would not have been such a success, nothing was too much to ask for them and their enthusiasm was incredible. Our teacher Roger, as well as other ACU staff Carmel and Michelle, showed professionalism and dedication to ensuring we had a fantastic experience as well as sharing with us in the good times had.
I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to complete an overseas study program and really immerse themselves in a culture very different to our own. A learning experience you will never forget, not just academically, but on a personal level too, you will learn so many things about yourself, experience things you will have never even thought possible and have the time of your life.