Feeling Welcomed & Local in China

As part of my field program, Highlights of Beijing, we went to an exercise park and made dumplings at someone’s home!

From my understanding, people are forced to retire in China at a bit of a young age, so from what we were told “all they have to do is take care of their grand-kids and exercise.” So we spent about half an hour at an exercise park! It was so fun! The locals were excited to show us how the “exercise equipment” worked and some people joined in on a class going on. We should have these in America! It was kind of like the exercise “path” on the north end of the boulevard.

We also made dumplings on my field program! Our tour guide walked us through the traditional neighborhood of Hutongs. At the house, we learned that the family started allowing people to see this house for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. These houses do not have toilets inside their houses. Every street has a communal bathroom, made up of squatty potties and not a lot of cleanliness. The houses themselves are not very big. Think standard one-bedroom apartment, and maybe shrink that? They showed us how to assemble dumplings, getting the perfect crease is kind of difficult. They also showed us how they paint the inside of what used to be used as snuff bottles.

These were two of (several) best experiences in China, where we got to connect with locals. So thankful for Semester At Sea’s field programs!

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