Monday, June 22, 2009

Beijing Week 3: Halfway

Without realizing it, I have already been in Beijing for three weeks, marking the halfway point of my internship and independent study in China. These past three weeks I have learned a lot from at my internship place, cross-cultural experiences (interacting with students from Peking University), and weekend excursions. I admit the first week was filled with cultural shocks and trying to adjust life to Beijing. The second week was more of an adventure and seeing Beijing and China. As for this third week, it was spent trying to digest what has just happened in the past two weeks.

I would characterize my third week as calm and trying to balance my internship, research, and touring. It is exhausting. This weekend I did not go sightseeing or touring around the city. Instead, I chose to stay in and relax. I know that my time here is limited, but sometimes it is nice to take things slow and enjoy the surrounding.

The work at my internship has slowed down a bit because the article regarding satellites and missiles was submitted and accepted by the Naval War College Review. However, I have a feeling that I will be doing research on other interesting topics regarding China’s security.
As for my independent research study, I have had many chances to interact with quite a few Peking University students. I have been asking them questions on their thoughts of East Asian popular culture- in return they ask me about American culture and how's life in the US. They have asked me where I'm from and I tell them Utah. One of the girl's response was "Oh, I know Utah! It's where the last Prison's Break was at..." I just smiled and nodded and replied, "Sure...I've never seen Prison Break, but I'm from Utah." And then we would continue exchanging dialogue, with them asking if the US was similar to the TV shows/movies they have seen. For example: Was your high school life like High School Musical? Well on the bright side, that movie was also filmed in Utah. But I would try to explain to them what life is/was really like for me in the US.

Side note: YouTube does not work in China, however they have YouKu which is basically Chinese YouTube.What I found interesting is that their perceptions of South Korea/Japan/Taiwan from what they've seen are different from their perceptions of the United States. I'm guessing it maybe the proximity of the places. But it was a great cross-cultural experience. And I know that will be having more conversations with Peking University's students for my remaining stay in Beijing.

- Manith Hang

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