Posted by: ngarcia3 | May 31, 2010

Ni hao!

You know how babies can find everything so entertaining and it’s only because everything is new to them? That’s exactly how I feel in China. Everything is so exciting, entertaining, and I just want to learn more.

We are on such a busy schedule that it is so hard to find time to rest. I don’t think Chinese people know what rest is. They remind me of the Energizer bunny (they just keep going and going).

Today was our first day of class. Our day started off by two welcoming ceremonies. One with the professors from Anshan Normal University and the other with our classmates. Our first ceremony with the professors was a very formal welcoming. It is hard to know how to behave when you are immersed in a different culture, but I think it is especially harder to know how to behave when you are immersed in a different culture and in a formal setting at the same time. Just to give you a mental picture of how scared I was to make a mistake, I don’t think I moved a finger the whole time I was in there. I was as stiff as a stick. Our second ceremony with the students was not as formal, but we were still treated like royalty. They were just as excited as we were to be there and to see them clapping and smiling as we walked in the room really touched my heart. The professors mention over and over again that having us there is a memorable experience for their Chinese students. I wish I had had the guts to let them know that being here is a once in a lifetime experience to some of us. I guess I still have time to build up the courage.

Chinese is so hard to learn! Learning to speak Chinese was our first class and it was not easy. We learned some of the greetings such as “hello, how are you, I am doing well”. You know, the usual starting point to learning any language. I definitely need to start practicing because we will be tested. Our next class was with Mr. Pang. We were divided into groups. One UAB student to about nine or ten Anshan students. We introduced ourselves and jumped straight to work. It is hard to communicate with them. Even though they know some English, it is still hard to understand their accent and there are still some words they don’t completely understand. Although many people think that communication is the most important tool to making group projects work, I believe all of our groups will be able to discover that communication may not be the most important tool. I wonder if there is not just one important tool. Perhaps all (communication, organization, commitment, creativity, etc.) are all equally important. None above the other.

This was my first day at Anshan Normal University. More to come…

-Nereyda Garcia

Posted by: mdillavou | May 31, 2010

Robert Sherman’s First Days

After almost 35 hours of traveling, we finally arrived in Anshan. Our Sunday afternoon was spent touring the city of Anshan and Anshan Normal University. Our host, Robin, then took us to a dumpling restaurant so we could experience some cuisine that is a strong part of Chinese culture.

Our morning today was very formal. We began with a meet and greet with many members of the ANU faculty, including the Vice President of the university. After we met with many of the members of the faculty, we went to a ceremony honoring professor Pang and ourselves, which consisted of several welcoming speeches from several faculty members as well as one ANU student and one of us, represented by Meredith Edmonds.

After one hour of Language class, we went pack to professor Pang’s class to meet with our group members. The language barrier is going to present some problems, but it should be easy to overcome.

Our formal lunch with the Vice President of ANU as well as the Dean of the School of Finance and Economics as many other professors was a great learning experience. In Chinese culture, you are not supposed to take your seat until everyone has reached their seat. You also cannot take any of your drink until everyone has been served and the most important member at the table has taken a drink. All food is placed on a lazy susan, but the food cannot be touched until at least four dishes have been placed on the lazy susan. Sometimes the protocol calls for no food to be touched until all food is placed on the lazy susan. Toasting in Chinese culture is very different from the U.S. The one giving the toast must keep his or her glass below the receiver, even if he drops his glass to the ground.

I hope the rest of our experiences teach us as much about Chinese culture as was taught to us in the first two days of our trip.

Posted by: dwmartin2k10 | May 29, 2010

Class is in session!

The Welcome sign at the entrance of Anshan Normal University

Today was the first day of class! It wasn’t too intense though. We took our first language class, we had a welcoming ceremony, and we had lunch with the ANU’s President, as well as a few other important people. There’s a picture of the lunch below. They really pull out all the stops for us here. Check out our private room, with a motorized revolving table (cool huh?). The food was awesome by the way! I’ll be brief today because I’m still feeling a bit tired from the long trip. This jet lag is NO joke!

-D. Martin

Lunch with the President of Anshan University

Posted by: mdillavou | May 21, 2010

UAB in China in the news

Here’s an article in the UAB magazine about the yearly china trip. The article also talks about a student who went on the trip several years ago and landed a job in China.

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