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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Beijing Scavenger – CET Educational Packages


Written by Dominic Bellido (Colby School), Pupil Correspondent for CET Beijing, Fall 2023

My search begins with my face pressed in opposition to the chilly window glass of the airplane. Though we arrive within the late afternoon, the threaded clouds that circle above Beijing make it arduous for me to obviously see the rivers and inexperienced fields, previous courtyards, and highrise condominium clusters. We land, and I ask myself, what precisely does the “actual” Beijing appear to be?

How does it evaluate to the Beijing that exists inside my head? After I consider town, imprecise recollections stand up from the final time I had come, 4 years in the past. Hazy pictures of the Olympic Park reel behind my eyes, together with flashes of streets crowded with vehicles and rickshaws, all transferring beneath the heat of a grey summer time sky.

But, after I roll my suitcase out the airport doorways, I obtain a unique first impression. Exterior, arriving and departing planes lower trails by means of the material of the crisp, blue sky. The air continues to be humid, however we’re too near autumn for the warmth to beat me down. I take a deep breath and be a part of the remainder of my CET and Middlebury classmates. Collectively, we board the bus to take us to the Capital Regular College in Haidian, the place we’ll spend the remainder of the autumn semester taking intensive Chinese language programs.

Almost empty streets on West 3rd Ring Road North Highway in Beijing

Life on the West third Ring Highway North Freeway

And all through my first week in Beijing, a lot of my encounters with town comply with the sample of my first second leaving the airport— in each place, I’m stunned to search out issues that I hardly see in America. In Beijing, the subway flooring are so clear I can see my reflection in them. Within the supermarkets, folks pay for all the pieces utilizing their telephones, and the products and fruits are low-cost and straightforward to search out. All alongside the highways, I hear the fixed grinding of jackhammers and development employees repaving damaged sections of the sidewalks and roads.

The town extends past me, and I discover one thing new and thrilling every single day. Nonetheless, whereas so many elements of town impress me, I nonetheless really feel that I’m lacking one thing essential: the voice of the those that make up every picture I discussed earlier than. Most of my first week in Beijing has been spent settling into my new room and determining open up financial institution accounts and telephone functions; to this point, my restricted time and Chinese language abilities have stopped me from having the ability to converse straight with the residents I see outdoors the campus.

To inform the reality, this downside cuts on to my primary objective for this semester. Not solely do I wish to see each a part of Beijing life I can, but in addition to hear in regards to the lives of the those that make up town— the scholars, the bankers, the cleaners, and so forth. Whereas I’m positive that CET will present ample alternatives for this sort of cultural change, I consider probably the most impactful interactions can solely come from these which are improvised, or discovered throughout the mundane moments of on a regular basis life.

Perhaps my query of discovering the “actual” Beijing is one which has no reply— my viewpoint will at all times be restricted to some extent, and this metropolis is just too massive to comprise a single place or image that features each facet of its tradition. Nonetheless, I’ll maintain making an attempt to speak to the folks I see, and ask them how they’re and the way the climate is. I’ll maintain trying into each alley and backyard that I see. And every day, as I anticipate the inexperienced mild on the intersection, I’ll maintain questioning what sorts of tales go me by, tales that should transfer alongside the bikers and pedestrians who comply with the currents of town site visitors like petals that drift down a blacktop river…


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