Wow. What a full first month it has been here in China. When I first arrived, landing in Shanghai and transfering to Hong Kong, it was a strange feeling. I did not speak Mandarin and trying to get around was a definite experience (would not say bad by any means).
Taking the boat from HK to Zhuhai across the South China Sea was amazing. There was so much fog everywhere but I could still see the worlds longest extension bridge alongside the boat. There were also old fishing vessels dotted throughout the sea that would appear mysteriously and it gave a feel of being in a somewhat mystical world. When the boat arrived in Zhuhai the fog suddenly cleared up and I could see a beautiful city.
I met with some Chinese and other exchange students and we went off to the dorms at UIC. The exchange group is a great set of people from the U.K., S. Korea, France, and Minnesota. The Chinese students are also wonderful, friendly, and very inviting. They have made it easier to transition to life at UIC.
The school has set up certain activities for us to do, like go to a monks temple, see the famous fischer girl statue along the sea, go to an underground mall, and go to a guqin concert. All of which has been a great experience. The exchange group has also took it upon themselves to find other activities we can do, like hike 4 mountains (which we did a few weeks ago), attend a traditional paper making class, travel around the different parts of Zhuhai, and find the best places for night life.
Recently, I received the backing of UIC to start a boxing club to teach students here about the western sport. I have held 3 classes so far and the students here love it. The school actually wants me to stay and continue coaching boxing.
I have met a lot of great people so far and have made a lot of good connections/friendships. Everyday has been a new experience and I am looking forward to what the rest of the semester has to offer. As for now, I am off to compete in a dart competition so I will end with this and continue another day.