At this point, two weeks in, I think that all of our predispositions about Beijing have been replaced or refined. I once saw a quote by Aldous Huxley that read, "To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” While it may appear to be harsh and condescending, this has always resonated with me because of the truth within those words. Our past experiences, our current knowledge, or our future aspirations all contribute to the differentiation between the ways we all interpret things in our lives. What Mr. Huxley is harping on is the point that although someone could’ve told you about how they experienced a place and culture, you won’t know anything about how it will affect you until you crawl out of your comfort zone and venture off for yourself.
The first two weeks of this trip for the Students at IES Abroad Beijing has been nothing less than chaotic. When else would you have to take two tests, compete in a city-wide (population approx. 20 million) scavenger hunt, partake in a night of karaoke, and eat scorpions all within 14 days of stepping off the airplane. It has all been invaluable for us by providing the opportunity to get acclimated to our new environment while also having a little fun in the process. As we slow down to hit the books for our first week of classes, we are now learning about another part of Chinese culture: rigorous curriculums!
The pictures below I tried to upload in sequential order except for the last few pictures of the sky. I grouped these few together in order to make a point. I know that Beijing has an infamous reputation for its air pollution problem, and even I was a victim of thinking that seeing blue sky was going to be more rare than seeing a shooting star. I hope that these pictures will accurately represent the beauty of the sky here in China's capital city. Sure, we do have days where the horizon line is distorted by a hazy, foggy, smoky, looking aura, but contrary to popular belief, Beijing's sky can be very picturesque and has presented some gorgeous sunsets over the last couple weeks.
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<p>My name is Brandon Berardo and I am a junior from Wofford College. Through my travels abroad, I have discovered that there is so much to see. People say that pictures are worth a thousand words, but I am hoping that some of my pictures will leave you speechless.</p>