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Asia

Busy busy busy - Zhuhai, China
Zhuhai has been an amazing journey so far, I have created some amazing relationships and am learning a lot from my peers and professors. The education model of UIC is the focus of creating a well rounded student. The business school does not focus too much on homework and quizzes but more on collaborative work and comprehensive exams. I am taking a wide range of business classes with  all of them having a focus on the organizational structures of business, and one of them being a global marketing class. The collaboration with other students has been a little bit difficult but I have learned a lot, about the process of exporting a domestic product and the implementation of it entering a new market. Other than school, I have tried almost every single food imaginable, the most interesting thing I’ve tried is duck blood, and it tasted exactly like it looked, which was jello, except there was not much taste, so what impacted how I liked it was the fact it was the blood of a duck, so it wasn’t my most favorite thing, but interesting. China has a lot of really cool landmarks as well so I have been visiting some old temples and monuments of past dynasties. I have been hearing that it is starting to snow in MN, so living in 70 degree weather with a jacket on and coming back will be dreadful but I try to take in every day and soak in something new, while also looking forward to reconnecting wit people when I get back.

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China is lit!
你好! This blog is looong overdue but its only because I have been having the time of my life. China has really been an adventure, everyone I have met here is super nice and awesome. My classes have been going smoothly, my professors and classmates have been so kind. I travelled so much, and I have been learning and expereincing all that there is to china. It’s such a big country with so many different cultures, no one place is the same as the other. Its hard to put into words how these past two months and a half have been like, but I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do this. It has opened my eyes in so many ways, It showed me how comfortable I was living in my bubble back in MN. I have grown way more in these past two months than the last 2 years at college. It’s crazy! Anyway thats all I have to say. I’m gonna go back to enjoying life in china and I’ll see yall when I get back! Much love, 塞布丽娜  <3

The Great Wall

Tianammen Square in Beijing

Shanghai Skyline

eating scorpions in Shanghai

Guilin, the most beautiful city I have ever been to

Locked up in Disney Land HK

The view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

At Victoria Peak

Moshi!



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A Crazy Month at Soonchunhyang!
It’s been another month of craziness and I’m already halfway done! So much has happened in the span of two months. I have met some of the greatest people here and it’s amazing how close everyone has gotten to each other in such a short amount of time. There’s going to be a lot in this post so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

My Experiences in Korea

SOONCHUNHYANG MUSIC FESTIVAL

At the end of September there was a big three-day musical festival that only happens during the Fall semester. There were going to be many Korean Artists that will perform. The only two performers I knew were Zico and Bolbbalgan4. Everyone here at SCH was so excited for Zico to perform. His song, “Okey Dokey” is literally the anthem among the students in Global Village. Bolbbalgan4 was incredible live but it was so sad that the school canceled Zico because there was a typhoon headed our way.

A Mini Music Seoul Trip

After the music festival I met up to meet with my friends from Minnesota who were competing in a dance contest in Korea. They were amazing as always and I got to watch Kpop Idols, The Boyz, Dreamcatcher, and JBJ95 perform while I was there. I was traveling by myself but I think I have been to Seoul enough times to navigate by myself. The next day I met up with a couple of my SCH friends to go watch a music show called Music Bank. I was super excited to see more famous artists perform their songs! It was honestly an experience. We stopped at Jumunjin Beach for a bit and it was beautiful. It was great to not be around so many crammed cars and just to be around water. After the beach we arrived at Music Bank and I got to see so many talented people perform. It was truly an awesome experience!

Coffee Hour: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

Preparing for Coffee Hour was a bit stressful but fun! Jiwon, a Korean student who came to Concordia last year was in charge of United, the dance performance group in Global Village had asked me to help her lead a group to perform for Coffee Hour. It was hard to get together and some language barriers but we managed to put on a great show! Because Coffee Hour was Halloween Themed we played many games like “Guess What’s In the Box” (I won IKEA socks for guessing pine cones) and Musical chairs with spooky music! It was a great time and super fun. I’m sad there’s only two Coffee Hours. (This was from last Coffee Hour. I don’t have the newest one yet ㅜㅜ)

Hangouts and Friends

Sinchang is actually a very small city. There are many restaurants, bars, PC bangs, and 노래 방’s (karaoke rooms). If you want to go shopping you would have to take the subway to the next few cities like Onyang and Cheonan. What my friends and I usually do is eat out (a lot!), or drinking (because it is part of the culture), and singing. On my language exchanges we usually play games in the Global Lounge or in the Gogos cafe. The most popular games this semester has been Rummikub, Halli Galli, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. These games are so entertaining that I’m even thinking of buying them for myself. Traveling is also a good way to get away from the country side. Usually I go to Seoul since it’s the most convenient and easiest to get to. Other popular places people go to are Busan or Jeju Island. This last month of October I went to  Gyeongbokgung Palace and dressed up in traditional Hanboks.

Adapting to Korean Culture

Before coming to Korea I thought I had some knowledge about the culture. I knew about handing things to people with two hands and bowing as a respectful aspect of their culture. I knew about their hierarchy system and some very basic terms. I did not think Korea will be different from America. In some perspectives it is but in other ways it’s really different. The longer that I stay here I think of Korea as a very traditional modernized country. Korea is evolving very quickly but because of the culture has a very Confucius foundation, it is still stuck in the past in my eyes. For example usually restaurants in America have semi-formal settings yet in Korea it is very homey and comfortable as if you never left your home. The waiters in Korea are to only serve you food and drinks but for setting the table the customers do it themselves as if you were home. Korea truly does have a beautiful culture. Being around Korean people and seeing how the interact with each other helps me figure out what I need to do here as well. I can see the changes in my behavior on how I interact with people. I have found myself to be very cautious and even more respectful than I was before. I would bow to everyone and hand things with two hands. I can speak basic conversations, order food, and tell the nice ahjima’s how great their cooking is. There is still so much for me to learn and to truly get comfortable with the country but as of right now I think I am doing a great job of integrating myself into the culture. I believe the true way of knowing that I have understood the culture is when I come back to America and bring these values and behaviors back with me.

Only One And A Half Months To Go

I’m super sad that I have met the halfway point of my journey here in Korea. I have met so many great people and we already talk about how fast this semester is going. Being in a new country is so eye-opening and I can feel myself changing in a good way. I feel like being away from home I can really find myself and how to better myself. I really miss my family and friends back in Minnesota but being here in Korea, it’s like a new adventure everyday! I really hope this last month slows itself down. I’m not ready to come home yet!

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Second Month in Asan, South Korea
October 24, 2019 It’s the fourth week of October. That means that this week is midterm exams week. The first three weeks for me were just the usual of attending class, homework, studying, and hanging out with friends. Usually if I want to travel out of the city, like to Seoul or Busan, I’d prefer to go over the weekend and spend a night or two over there and take more time to explore those areas. This eventually transitioned to studying for exams and less time going out. Not too long ago one of my Korean friends invited me to eat lunch with her and her two friends who are in the same major together. Since it was around lunch time, most restaurants down the hill are packed with students. She met with me first while her other two friends went to grab a table at the restaurant. I introduced myself to them and told them I’m from America. They asked which part and I told them Minnesota. The guy immediately reacted and the girl who sat next to him told me he’s a huge NBA fan, so he’s heard of Minnesota before. We then proceeded to talk about our cultures. Although they know some English because they are required to take English classes, I could tell they wanted to ask me many things about America because they kept taking out their phone to translate a question to ask me. My Korean friend, who was sitting beside me, also helped translate things we said to each other. After we ate lunch, we grabbed drinks at Gongcha, which is nearby the restaurant. My friend told me that her friends enjoyed chatting with me and that they want to have a meal together again some time soon. They even told me that I can bring my other international friends so there’s more people. Because it’s a different country and culture, I’m afraid to make cultural mistakes or any mistake at all. Sometimes I’m hesitant to do something or look confused, but once the Korean friends I’ve made notice what’s wrong, they help explain to me what to do or how to do something. After being in Korea for about two whole months now, I’ve noticed changes in how I do things. An example would be like handing things over a certain way. In Korea, if you were to hand someone something, such as paying at a cashier, you would use your other hand to support the hand that is holding the object (or hand the object over with two hands). It’s considered polite this way. The week before midterms, most students are usually studying. At this time it’s more quiet around the dorms since people want to study and you wouldn’t want to make a lot of noise to disturb them. Walking around campus you see the lounges and studying spaces are more filled with students and their textbooks. I finished my last midterm exam about an hour ago. During exam week, based on the classes I’m taking, we go to class, take the exam, and leave once we finish. Similar to classes back home. Here are some photos I took from this month. When I hang out with Korean friends or language exchanges we sometimes go to cafes or get a quick lunch together. There’s some stray cats on campus and I managed to get a photo of one. The toast was also really good.  

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First Month of the Zhuhai Journey!
Hi Everyone, My name is John P. Gardiner II, and I am a senior at CSP studying Marketing with a minor in International Business. My summer was incredibly crazy as I was a marketing intern for Cargill Inc, until two weeks before leaving for Zhuhai, China. The plane ride was not too bad, a lot of individuals cancelled their flight so from departing Texas then heading to Zhuhai, I had three seats all to myself so I was able to sleep pretty comfortably. When I arrived to China, I was a bit unprepared for contact with my roommate as my cellphone connection had not established immediately, but everything after that has been incredibly smooth. The campus at UIC is beyond beautiful, and its pretty big, I would say comparable to a local university, the campus is as big as half of the U of M campus. UIC is truly in a college town area, being located directly next to a bigger university and in the village of Zhuhai secluded from the downtown, but right near the bars and restaurants, only a 15 min bus ride away.  Since being here I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of amazing individuals. We have a group of about 17 exchange students and have created a good bond and friendship with all the exchange students, some Chinese roommates, and other friends along the way. The international exchange group contains 5 of us from MN, 1 from Georgia, 4 from France, 2 from Germany, 1 from South Korea, and 4 from Thailand. As a group we decide to take a trip to Guangzhou which is a big city right next to Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province. It was incredibly fun and we stayed for three days. I’ve also had the pleasure of being invited to join the fitness club and have been enjoying the friends I’ve met through that. My professors are amazing and really have taken a liking to me, especially a new professor that is Korean and is an ex-employee of LG Research and Consulting, he has offered to already get me in contact with some of his friends at LG Inc and Samsung, and he seems very adamant that I should work in Korea! Besides that I am still always networking even though I am here in China so preparing and weighing graduation options, and am freelance marketing for Cargill while here. So far the journey has been very eye opening and I hope you can all follow me along the ride! Thank you

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My First Month In Zhuhai!
Hi everyone! I’ve been in Zhuhai, China now for about a month and it’s been amazing! My trip here was sooo long,  I think I flew for 21 hours  total! It was my first time flying United and it was so uncomfortable, lesson learned! Their planes have absolutely no leg room, it does not exist in their universe. I finally got to Zhuhai International Airport and my lovely roommate was waiting for me, it was about an hour car ride to UIC. The minute I stepped out the air-conditioned doors of the airport, the heat slapped me in the face! it was HUMID and HOT.  All I did my first day at UIC was sleep, because honestly I was very exhausted. The following week consisted of orientation and exploring Zhuhai, I met all the other exchange students and we’ve all become good friends. I went to all the popular Zhuhai attractions like the opera house and the fisher girl and I tried so many different dishes like chicken feet, dumplings, hotpot etc. It was really cool. One weekend, we decided to go to Guangzhou, so we took a train and went. Guangzhou is a relatively big city compared to Zhuhai and it is way more diverse. On the 26th of September I’ll be going to Beijing, Shanghai and Guilin with a group of friends since it is the national holidays in China. It’s going to be an adventure, so stay tuned!! ~ Sabrina <3

The Zhuhai Opera House

At the New Yuanming Palace dressed like a Chinese Empress

The Canton Tower at night

Zhujiang West Road



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First encounters of Korea + The Student Life

Vacation time!

This blog is long overdue BUT only due to the craziness that has happened in the past three weeks.  I arrived early in Korea on August 18th. My parents also decided to tag along so they could also have their own vacation as well. The plane ride was super long (like 13 hours!) and once we arrived to the airport we had to take the subway to another airport for Jeju. We basically lived at the airport for a whole day! Once we arrived in Jeju we explored the island and went on a Yacht tour in the sea. The water was super blue and beautiful. We were supposed to be dolphin spotting but sadly we weren’t lucky enough. (The sea was really beautiful in Jeju!) We also went to Seoul and visited many of the touristy places like, Namsan Tower, Myungdong Streets, Hongdae, Gangnam. Alright, enough of the touristy vacation things. It’s time for the good stuff!

The Student life in Korea.

Saying goodbye to my parents was very bittersweet. Especially because they came along with me, physically saying goodbye was tough. I had to hold back the tears and be strong. This is my first time being outside the US and alone. Before coming to Soon Chun Hyang University in Asan I did lots on research to prepare myself. Although I had some prior knowledge of the Korean language and culture, I really have to put things to the test! The international students had to arrive a week before the Korean students because we had a lot more paperwork and orientations. I was nervous if I could make any friends here since I came by myself but I had to put myself out there. Thank goodness that there is a Kakao Talk group chat with most of the international students so random hangouts would occur. My first week in Asan went pretty well! Because I live in Global Village, I met many different people from all around the world. I feel like I made many friends while drinking. The Korean drinking culture is super different from America. But because drinking is very social here, getting to know people was easier to do and also really fun. Once the Korean students moved into Global Village there wasn’t a big language barrier because the Korean students need to know some English to live ther. They are super nice, cool, and down to do anything. They are also as interested in our cultures as we are to theirs. As the school year begins, I was actually really excited for my classes. I am taking 5 classes: 2 Korean learning classes, a music class, and a business class. Outside of classes I also have language exchanges where we are paired with Korean students and we basically only speak English to help them improve their skills. We usually have about 7-8 exchanges. Classes here are also very different then what I am used to. Korean classes are usually 3 hours long but there are 10 minute breaks in between. I think I like this a bit better than in America because the 10 minutes let me recollect my thoughts (or to wake myself up especially 9am classes!). My Korean Speaking professor is super entertaining. He is very engaging, funny, and very over expressive. He teaches us like we are children but I don’t mind since it helps me learn faster. On the first day of class he taught us “Konglish” which is Korean mixed English since we learned the Korean alphabet. He says if we cannot speak Korean, as long as we can pronounce our English as Korean there will be some understanding. It was probably my most memorable 1st day of school. (It says: “Do you love me? See you, Bye Bye.”) My schedule is pretty available now. I usually only have morning classes and one class a day with few language exchanges here and there. Not much has happened yet since we just had our Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) break. Although it’s been free flowing right now, I can sense the late night study sessions coming soon BUT a really great semester. Last thing! Because Korea is SUPER SUPER CHEAP, my wallet is crying because I eat out too much. T.T

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Arriving in South Korea

1 Month at SCHU: September 30, 2019

It’s been officially one month in Korea. When I first arrived we didn’t get to Global Village (dorms for exchange students) until close to 9PM as we were the last group to be picked up from the airport for the day. Even though it was pretty late, I met my first suite-mate and we unpacked before walking to the store together to grab some things we didn’t bring with us, such as shampoo. We climbed back up the hill to the dorms and got ready for bed. One huge tip I would suggest to bring with you if you plan on studying at SCHU is to bring at least one roll of toilet paper with you. Returning exchange students from the previous semester told us to do it because most likely your suite will not have toilet paper when you arrive. The first week it was hard adjusting to the cultural differences, food, and environment. I struggled with jet-lag for a bit. I would wake up around 3AM to 5AM (around 1PM Minnesota time) the first few days and head to bed between 5PM-7PM (around 3AM Minnesota time). The first week is all about settling in and attending orientation to set up your Korean bank, obtaining health insurance, learning about how to adjust, and applying for your alien registration card. All the important stuff you’ll need to have and know while you’re staying here. Once classes started it wasn’t that long before Chuseok Holiday Break (Korean Thanksgiving). We had a four-day break so many of us exchange students traveled to Seoul during that time, which is about almost two hours to Seoul. We took the subway all the way there which took a few hours because we also got lost. One thing you will see in the subway stations is all the birthday celebration ads for Korean idols. I managed to see one of Jungkook from BTS as it was his birthday not too long ago. The fastest way to get to Seoul though would be to take the KTX train which costs roughly around 14,000 won ($11 USD) and this gets you to Seoul in thirty minutes. I’d suggest to buy the train tickets ahead online otherwise they tend to be sold out, especially during the big holiday. I spent two nights in Seoul with two other exchange students in an airbnb. We visited Hongdae and Myeongdong, which are two famous shopping places in Seoul with a very awesome nightlife. We visited the LINE store too. My favorite part is watching the busking (street performances) in Hongdae.   The week after break, we began our language exchanges. I had seven during that first week, but some people do end up dropping the exchanges, so now I have six to meet weekly. They are all very nice and we both are learning about each other’s cultures and home. They asked what Minnesota is known for and I told them we have the Mall of America and ten-thousand lakes. I also asked them for advice on what I should try in Korea. They offered to help me with visiting places and that I can text them anytime if I wanted help with something during my time here. During the language exchanges you can choose to sit and talk in the lounge for the hour you guys have together or walk down the hill to get breakfast/lunch/dinner or a drink together. I’ve been down the hill with some of my exchanges already and we went to Cafe Family. I’d recommend to try this place at least once if you come here. They have really good drinks. As for classes, the teachers are funny and will try their best to help you. All language classes are taught in Korean, but they do speak some English here and there to help us exchange students understand better. You don’t need the textbook during the first week like you would in some classes in America. The teachers will let you know on the first day what you need and the textbooks are available in the bookstore. I was surprised to see one of my textbooks cost roughly $20 USD. To get to the building where most of your classes may be held, you have to walk up and down stairs. Soonchunhyang University is located on a hill and is more of the countryside, so anywhere you go there are stairs or a hill, although you climb more stairs back up to Global Village than down since its located near the highest part of campus. I have some photos of the main set of stairs that a lot of students take to and from classes. I’d say it’s a great way to exercise every day. The view is also very beautiful since you can’t see this in the city. One thing I noticed when I first arrived is that I was very dehydrated. No matter how much water I drank I still felt the need to drink more. It could be because of the physical changes and how different the weather is. Over here it’s much more humid. We arrived during the change in weather from hot and humid to cool mornings/nights so it wasn’t as bad. I decided to pack more Fall and Winter clothes for my time here since I’m here for Fall semester only, but the weather won’t get colder till end of October or some time in November. The whole month of September the weather was nice. Some rainy days but not as many. We did get a typhoon warning the second week here, but the majority of us stayed inside and played board games together and others enjoyed it because they barely get rain from where they come from. What I realized also is that since we come from different parts of the world, we treat the weather differently. I may be walking outside in the mornings to class in a simple t-shirt in sixty degrees Fahrenheit weather, but other people will be wearing hoodies or sweaters. Around this time where the temperature is different throughout the day (cool in the morning, hot by lunchtime, back to cool in the evening) some students get sick too. Overall, I’m enjoying my time here meeting new people and discovering new things. I talk to my family back home daily and they say I’ve changed so much already. I feel like I’m the same person though. I can’t wait to explore other parts of Korea. I already have one Korean friend who said she would love to visit me back in Minnesota some time next year and get to know how different America is from Korea.

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April & May Recap!
I think that the month of April was the roughest month ever. I REALLY MISS MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS A LOT. I could not stop telling them that. I stayed up pretty late just to talk to them every night, which is bad but most of my classes did not start until 12pm. I risked it all for them. It was a pretty stressful month too. Every weekday and weekend, I would ONLY be in the library to do assignments and group projects, which they have put a heavy emphasis on. All my classes had a group projects. There was this reading session that they had and I decided to participate in it because I spoke Hmong. They wanted people who had a different native language to read a passage from a book. Most of the people have never heard of the Hmong language so I was glad I decided to participate in it. Plus it was cool to also hear from the other languages. There was this guy who was from Hunan and I was curious if we were going to have the same dialect but we did not. But there was this amazing Miao exhibit that the school held. I was glad my roommate told me because I do not check my schools email too often. I WAS SO EXCITED! I really enjoyed the pieces that they had. It was very beautiful. The details on the frabric was beautiful. The fact that the details were white on a royal blue fabric made it so gorgeous. The Miao from Guizhou were the ones who did this work of art. I was very entralled! I was just too fascinated by the work! They were very beautiful.  I could tell that it took quite some time for them to finish it.I saw on the prints that there was a butterfly that would appear a lot. Ahem, the Mother Butterfly. There was also a frabric that talked about the Hmong people, which I was very stoked about! It was amazing. I do wish they would hold another Miao exhibit before I leave. It just made me feel happy. I LOVED IT A LOT.   We also had a day where we were able to create a dish from home! Everyone seemed to enjoy it also! I really missed home food! It was not exactly the same but it was super close. I still enjoyed it a lot though!

Chef Xiong

During the month we, the other foreign exchange students, also had a High Table event. It was a goodbye dinner for the seniors of each different departments. The food was really good and pretty fancy! A friend took me to the tourist spot in Zhuhai. The Zhuhai Shell Opera House!                 The beautiful sky from my dorm! I definitely will miss the sounds of the roosters waking me up! The lasts months were getting really really hot! Stay hydrated! I will also miss that small restaurant, Running Chicken, near our school! They were really nice and they definitely knew me! The month of May consisted of final exams! I was so use to multiple choices and they had written tests, which made my fingers numb. However, after exams, I took a trip to Hong Kong! Definitely a beautiful place to visit again! I was not able to see everything!

I was trying to carefully shake the basket so I can, hopefully, drop some good numbers! But the fortune teller told me I was good or so I hope. He seemed like he knew what he was doing!

I did not get to go to as many places as I wanted to go to in China. But I will definitely go back to the country in the future, when my Mandarin is perfect or I’ll just bring a fluent speaker with me. Haha. Every experience is a learning experience, even if it was not positive. I believe that this experience has made me come to appreciate the amazing people in my life. I was so eager to leave to China that I forgot about my family and friends. I appreciate my friends who woke up to hear me vent my feelings and just listen to me. I feel like without them, I would have not been able to pass the month of April. Being in America,  it was so easy to get the support that I needed and it was so easy to see my friends, even though we were 30 minutes away. It was better than a whole day ahead. Now, I’ve come to realize how much I just want to spend time with my family and friends. However, being abroad made me feel so distant and lonely. It did teach me to be independent and sometimes rely on myself in difficult situations, which I really appreciate. Thank You Zhuhai.

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Last month in China!
  I can’t believe the semester is about to be over already. I feel like I just landed here and it’s only twenty more days left. In May, we didn’t really go anywhere far because everyone is busy preparing for finals and presentation.   We went to the Chinese talent show, where all the exchange students along with the other students who are doing internship participated in. My class did a short version play from the comedian movie Kung Fu Hustle. It was hilarious and so much fun. It was great to see what every other Chinese class was doing. There were lots of games, prizes, and snacks! Along with many other fun activities.    

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Uncategorized

Busy busy busy - Zhuhai, China
Zhuhai has been an amazing journey so far, I have created some amazing relationships and am learning a lot from my peers and professors. The education model of UIC is the focus of creating a well rounded student. The business school does not focus too much on homework and quizzes but more on collaborative work and comprehensive exams. I am taking a wide range of business classes with  all of them having a focus on the organizational structures of business, and one of them being a global marketing class. The collaboration with other students has been a little bit difficult but I have learned a lot, about the process of exporting a domestic product and the implementation of it entering a new market. Other than school, I have tried almost every single food imaginable, the most interesting thing I’ve tried is duck blood, and it tasted exactly like it looked, which was jello, except there was not much taste, so what impacted how I liked it was the fact it was the blood of a duck, so it wasn’t my most favorite thing, but interesting. China has a lot of really cool landmarks as well so I have been visiting some old temples and monuments of past dynasties. I have been hearing that it is starting to snow in MN, so living in 70 degree weather with a jacket on and coming back will be dreadful but I try to take in every day and soak in something new, while also looking forward to reconnecting wit people when I get back.

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China is lit!
你好! This blog is looong overdue but its only because I have been having the time of my life. China has really been an adventure, everyone I have met here is super nice and awesome. My classes have been going smoothly, my professors and classmates have been so kind. I travelled so much, and I have been learning and expereincing all that there is to china. It’s such a big country with so many different cultures, no one place is the same as the other. Its hard to put into words how these past two months and a half have been like, but I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do this. It has opened my eyes in so many ways, It showed me how comfortable I was living in my bubble back in MN. I have grown way more in these past two months than the last 2 years at college. It’s crazy! Anyway thats all I have to say. I’m gonna go back to enjoying life in china and I’ll see yall when I get back! Much love, 塞布丽娜  <3

The Great Wall

Tianammen Square in Beijing

Shanghai Skyline

eating scorpions in Shanghai

Guilin, the most beautiful city I have ever been to

Locked up in Disney Land HK

The view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

At Victoria Peak

Moshi!



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Second Month in Asan, South Korea
October 24, 2019 It’s the fourth week of October. That means that this week is midterm exams week. The first three weeks for me were just the usual of attending class, homework, studying, and hanging out with friends. Usually if I want to travel out of the city, like to Seoul or Busan, I’d prefer to go over the weekend and spend a night or two over there and take more time to explore those areas. This eventually transitioned to studying for exams and less time going out. Not too long ago one of my Korean friends invited me to eat lunch with her and her two friends who are in the same major together. Since it was around lunch time, most restaurants down the hill are packed with students. She met with me first while her other two friends went to grab a table at the restaurant. I introduced myself to them and told them I’m from America. They asked which part and I told them Minnesota. The guy immediately reacted and the girl who sat next to him told me he’s a huge NBA fan, so he’s heard of Minnesota before. We then proceeded to talk about our cultures. Although they know some English because they are required to take English classes, I could tell they wanted to ask me many things about America because they kept taking out their phone to translate a question to ask me. My Korean friend, who was sitting beside me, also helped translate things we said to each other. After we ate lunch, we grabbed drinks at Gongcha, which is nearby the restaurant. My friend told me that her friends enjoyed chatting with me and that they want to have a meal together again some time soon. They even told me that I can bring my other international friends so there’s more people. Because it’s a different country and culture, I’m afraid to make cultural mistakes or any mistake at all. Sometimes I’m hesitant to do something or look confused, but once the Korean friends I’ve made notice what’s wrong, they help explain to me what to do or how to do something. After being in Korea for about two whole months now, I’ve noticed changes in how I do things. An example would be like handing things over a certain way. In Korea, if you were to hand someone something, such as paying at a cashier, you would use your other hand to support the hand that is holding the object (or hand the object over with two hands). It’s considered polite this way. The week before midterms, most students are usually studying. At this time it’s more quiet around the dorms since people want to study and you wouldn’t want to make a lot of noise to disturb them. Walking around campus you see the lounges and studying spaces are more filled with students and their textbooks. I finished my last midterm exam about an hour ago. During exam week, based on the classes I’m taking, we go to class, take the exam, and leave once we finish. Similar to classes back home. Here are some photos I took from this month. When I hang out with Korean friends or language exchanges we sometimes go to cafes or get a quick lunch together. There’s some stray cats on campus and I managed to get a photo of one. The toast was also really good.  

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First Month of the Zhuhai Journey!
Hi Everyone, My name is John P. Gardiner II, and I am a senior at CSP studying Marketing with a minor in International Business. My summer was incredibly crazy as I was a marketing intern for Cargill Inc, until two weeks before leaving for Zhuhai, China. The plane ride was not too bad, a lot of individuals cancelled their flight so from departing Texas then heading to Zhuhai, I had three seats all to myself so I was able to sleep pretty comfortably. When I arrived to China, I was a bit unprepared for contact with my roommate as my cellphone connection had not established immediately, but everything after that has been incredibly smooth. The campus at UIC is beyond beautiful, and its pretty big, I would say comparable to a local university, the campus is as big as half of the U of M campus. UIC is truly in a college town area, being located directly next to a bigger university and in the village of Zhuhai secluded from the downtown, but right near the bars and restaurants, only a 15 min bus ride away.  Since being here I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of amazing individuals. We have a group of about 17 exchange students and have created a good bond and friendship with all the exchange students, some Chinese roommates, and other friends along the way. The international exchange group contains 5 of us from MN, 1 from Georgia, 4 from France, 2 from Germany, 1 from South Korea, and 4 from Thailand. As a group we decide to take a trip to Guangzhou which is a big city right next to Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province. It was incredibly fun and we stayed for three days. I’ve also had the pleasure of being invited to join the fitness club and have been enjoying the friends I’ve met through that. My professors are amazing and really have taken a liking to me, especially a new professor that is Korean and is an ex-employee of LG Research and Consulting, he has offered to already get me in contact with some of his friends at LG Inc and Samsung, and he seems very adamant that I should work in Korea! Besides that I am still always networking even though I am here in China so preparing and weighing graduation options, and am freelance marketing for Cargill while here. So far the journey has been very eye opening and I hope you can all follow me along the ride! Thank you

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My First Month In Zhuhai!
Hi everyone! I’ve been in Zhuhai, China now for about a month and it’s been amazing! My trip here was sooo long,  I think I flew for 21 hours  total! It was my first time flying United and it was so uncomfortable, lesson learned! Their planes have absolutely no leg room, it does not exist in their universe. I finally got to Zhuhai International Airport and my lovely roommate was waiting for me, it was about an hour car ride to UIC. The minute I stepped out the air-conditioned doors of the airport, the heat slapped me in the face! it was HUMID and HOT.  All I did my first day at UIC was sleep, because honestly I was very exhausted. The following week consisted of orientation and exploring Zhuhai, I met all the other exchange students and we’ve all become good friends. I went to all the popular Zhuhai attractions like the opera house and the fisher girl and I tried so many different dishes like chicken feet, dumplings, hotpot etc. It was really cool. One weekend, we decided to go to Guangzhou, so we took a train and went. Guangzhou is a relatively big city compared to Zhuhai and it is way more diverse. On the 26th of September I’ll be going to Beijing, Shanghai and Guilin with a group of friends since it is the national holidays in China. It’s going to be an adventure, so stay tuned!! ~ Sabrina <3

The Zhuhai Opera House

At the New Yuanming Palace dressed like a Chinese Empress

The Canton Tower at night

Zhujiang West Road



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Arriving in South Korea

1 Month at SCHU: September 30, 2019

It’s been officially one month in Korea. When I first arrived we didn’t get to Global Village (dorms for exchange students) until close to 9PM as we were the last group to be picked up from the airport for the day. Even though it was pretty late, I met my first suite-mate and we unpacked before walking to the store together to grab some things we didn’t bring with us, such as shampoo. We climbed back up the hill to the dorms and got ready for bed. One huge tip I would suggest to bring with you if you plan on studying at SCHU is to bring at least one roll of toilet paper with you. Returning exchange students from the previous semester told us to do it because most likely your suite will not have toilet paper when you arrive. The first week it was hard adjusting to the cultural differences, food, and environment. I struggled with jet-lag for a bit. I would wake up around 3AM to 5AM (around 1PM Minnesota time) the first few days and head to bed between 5PM-7PM (around 3AM Minnesota time). The first week is all about settling in and attending orientation to set up your Korean bank, obtaining health insurance, learning about how to adjust, and applying for your alien registration card. All the important stuff you’ll need to have and know while you’re staying here. Once classes started it wasn’t that long before Chuseok Holiday Break (Korean Thanksgiving). We had a four-day break so many of us exchange students traveled to Seoul during that time, which is about almost two hours to Seoul. We took the subway all the way there which took a few hours because we also got lost. One thing you will see in the subway stations is all the birthday celebration ads for Korean idols. I managed to see one of Jungkook from BTS as it was his birthday not too long ago. The fastest way to get to Seoul though would be to take the KTX train which costs roughly around 14,000 won ($11 USD) and this gets you to Seoul in thirty minutes. I’d suggest to buy the train tickets ahead online otherwise they tend to be sold out, especially during the big holiday. I spent two nights in Seoul with two other exchange students in an airbnb. We visited Hongdae and Myeongdong, which are two famous shopping places in Seoul with a very awesome nightlife. We visited the LINE store too. My favorite part is watching the busking (street performances) in Hongdae.   The week after break, we began our language exchanges. I had seven during that first week, but some people do end up dropping the exchanges, so now I have six to meet weekly. They are all very nice and we both are learning about each other’s cultures and home. They asked what Minnesota is known for and I told them we have the Mall of America and ten-thousand lakes. I also asked them for advice on what I should try in Korea. They offered to help me with visiting places and that I can text them anytime if I wanted help with something during my time here. During the language exchanges you can choose to sit and talk in the lounge for the hour you guys have together or walk down the hill to get breakfast/lunch/dinner or a drink together. I’ve been down the hill with some of my exchanges already and we went to Cafe Family. I’d recommend to try this place at least once if you come here. They have really good drinks. As for classes, the teachers are funny and will try their best to help you. All language classes are taught in Korean, but they do speak some English here and there to help us exchange students understand better. You don’t need the textbook during the first week like you would in some classes in America. The teachers will let you know on the first day what you need and the textbooks are available in the bookstore. I was surprised to see one of my textbooks cost roughly $20 USD. To get to the building where most of your classes may be held, you have to walk up and down stairs. Soonchunhyang University is located on a hill and is more of the countryside, so anywhere you go there are stairs or a hill, although you climb more stairs back up to Global Village than down since its located near the highest part of campus. I have some photos of the main set of stairs that a lot of students take to and from classes. I’d say it’s a great way to exercise every day. The view is also very beautiful since you can’t see this in the city. One thing I noticed when I first arrived is that I was very dehydrated. No matter how much water I drank I still felt the need to drink more. It could be because of the physical changes and how different the weather is. Over here it’s much more humid. We arrived during the change in weather from hot and humid to cool mornings/nights so it wasn’t as bad. I decided to pack more Fall and Winter clothes for my time here since I’m here for Fall semester only, but the weather won’t get colder till end of October or some time in November. The whole month of September the weather was nice. Some rainy days but not as many. We did get a typhoon warning the second week here, but the majority of us stayed inside and played board games together and others enjoyed it because they barely get rain from where they come from. What I realized also is that since we come from different parts of the world, we treat the weather differently. I may be walking outside in the mornings to class in a simple t-shirt in sixty degrees Fahrenheit weather, but other people will be wearing hoodies or sweaters. Around this time where the temperature is different throughout the day (cool in the morning, hot by lunchtime, back to cool in the evening) some students get sick too. Overall, I’m enjoying my time here meeting new people and discovering new things. I talk to my family back home daily and they say I’ve changed so much already. I feel like I’m the same person though. I can’t wait to explore other parts of Korea. I already have one Korean friend who said she would love to visit me back in Minnesota some time next year and get to know how different America is from Korea.

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April & May Recap!
I think that the month of April was the roughest month ever. I REALLY MISS MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS A LOT. I could not stop telling them that. I stayed up pretty late just to talk to them every night, which is bad but most of my classes did not start until 12pm. I risked it all for them. It was a pretty stressful month too. Every weekday and weekend, I would ONLY be in the library to do assignments and group projects, which they have put a heavy emphasis on. All my classes had a group projects. There was this reading session that they had and I decided to participate in it because I spoke Hmong. They wanted people who had a different native language to read a passage from a book. Most of the people have never heard of the Hmong language so I was glad I decided to participate in it. Plus it was cool to also hear from the other languages. There was this guy who was from Hunan and I was curious if we were going to have the same dialect but we did not. But there was this amazing Miao exhibit that the school held. I was glad my roommate told me because I do not check my schools email too often. I WAS SO EXCITED! I really enjoyed the pieces that they had. It was very beautiful. The details on the frabric was beautiful. The fact that the details were white on a royal blue fabric made it so gorgeous. The Miao from Guizhou were the ones who did this work of art. I was very entralled! I was just too fascinated by the work! They were very beautiful.  I could tell that it took quite some time for them to finish it.I saw on the prints that there was a butterfly that would appear a lot. Ahem, the Mother Butterfly. There was also a frabric that talked about the Hmong people, which I was very stoked about! It was amazing. I do wish they would hold another Miao exhibit before I leave. It just made me feel happy. I LOVED IT A LOT.   We also had a day where we were able to create a dish from home! Everyone seemed to enjoy it also! I really missed home food! It was not exactly the same but it was super close. I still enjoyed it a lot though!

Chef Xiong

During the month we, the other foreign exchange students, also had a High Table event. It was a goodbye dinner for the seniors of each different departments. The food was really good and pretty fancy! A friend took me to the tourist spot in Zhuhai. The Zhuhai Shell Opera House!                 The beautiful sky from my dorm! I definitely will miss the sounds of the roosters waking me up! The lasts months were getting really really hot! Stay hydrated! I will also miss that small restaurant, Running Chicken, near our school! They were really nice and they definitely knew me! The month of May consisted of final exams! I was so use to multiple choices and they had written tests, which made my fingers numb. However, after exams, I took a trip to Hong Kong! Definitely a beautiful place to visit again! I was not able to see everything!

I was trying to carefully shake the basket so I can, hopefully, drop some good numbers! But the fortune teller told me I was good or so I hope. He seemed like he knew what he was doing!

I did not get to go to as many places as I wanted to go to in China. But I will definitely go back to the country in the future, when my Mandarin is perfect or I’ll just bring a fluent speaker with me. Haha. Every experience is a learning experience, even if it was not positive. I believe that this experience has made me come to appreciate the amazing people in my life. I was so eager to leave to China that I forgot about my family and friends. I appreciate my friends who woke up to hear me vent my feelings and just listen to me. I feel like without them, I would have not been able to pass the month of April. Being in America,  it was so easy to get the support that I needed and it was so easy to see my friends, even though we were 30 minutes away. It was better than a whole day ahead. Now, I’ve come to realize how much I just want to spend time with my family and friends. However, being abroad made me feel so distant and lonely. It did teach me to be independent and sometimes rely on myself in difficult situations, which I really appreciate. Thank You Zhuhai.

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Last month in China!
  I can’t believe the semester is about to be over already. I feel like I just landed here and it’s only twenty more days left. In May, we didn’t really go anywhere far because everyone is busy preparing for finals and presentation.   We went to the Chinese talent show, where all the exchange students along with the other students who are doing internship participated in. My class did a short version play from the comedian movie Kung Fu Hustle. It was hilarious and so much fun. It was great to see what every other Chinese class was doing. There were lots of games, prizes, and snacks! Along with many other fun activities.    

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