So, as you know from my last post, I'm going to China!
The purpose of the trip I’m going on is to expose graduate students to organizations and media outlets in China. Our itinerary isn't 100 percent complete, but I know several of the adventures I will embark upon in China’s wee capital city of 21.5 million people.
We will be meeting with foreign correspondents based in Beijing as well as local media outlets including China Daily. One of my graduate research projects this semester specifically focuses on China and I used China Daily as a resource more than once; so I am particularly excited to meet with the Editor-in-Chief.
The US embassy is also on the list, which I think is cool because Governor Branstad, excuse me, Ambassador Branstad, was governor of Iowa for basically the same number of years I've been alive.
Total side note, but we'll also visit the Great Wall while we're in Beijing. Not a big deal or anything, it's not like it's a freaking Modern Wonder of the World or anything.
[For those who are interested, this will bring my total number of visits up to four out of the seven Modern Wonders of the World, and one out of seven of the original Ancient World Wonders. Bonus points if you can correctly guess which places I’ve been!]
After Beijing we will take a Chinese bullet train to Xi'an, the cradle of Chinese civilization and an ancient capital of the empire. I'm totally not excited out of my wildest dreams to travel to this historic city. (Literally so excited).
We haven't been given any specific details on what we will be doing in this tiny city of nearly nine million people, (for the record this is more people who live in the entire state of New Jersey,) but I can tell you one thing I'm fairly certain we will be taken to see:
It's the burial site of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang. You might not have heard of him, but you've probably heard of his army.
His freaking TERRACOTTA ARMY.
Ok, I'm done fan-girling over a dead guy and his amazing art collection. Moving on.
From Xi'an we'll fly to Shanghai. Shanghai is even larger than Beijing with a population of over 24 million people.
I've included a map of the three cities so you can see how much/little of China I'll get to see on my trip.
In Shanghai I'm most excited for the Propaganda Poster Museum. I have a particular interest in propaganda, and am eager to learn about China's perceptions about propaganda especially in visual media.
Also scheduled is a trip to the Pearl Market... which I'm sure will be awesome and heart breaking for a broke grad student on a tight budget.
Home for the Holidays
I depart Shanghai on December 22 at 5 p.m. and I'll arrive back in America at 5 p.m. on December 22...? Gotta love those international time zones. From there I'll have another flight back to Omaha where I'll land bright and early at 12:15 in the lovely hours of the morning when it will be pitch black outside and every sane person is at home, in bed, preparing for the holidays.
I'm sure I'll spend Christmas extremely jet-lagged, but I'm looking forward to it anyway!
Next Post: Understanding the Chinese Media Censorship
*Unless otherwise stated, all photos in this post were chosen specifically because they were listed as common domain
**Check back for my own photos of China after my trip!
It’s been a while since I’ve written and it’s about time I posted an update about my adventures.
I graduated from Iowa State University in May of 2017 with a bachelor of science in public relations; a bachelor of science in women’s studies; a minor in psychology; and a concentration in history.
Four years and tens of thousands of dollars later and I am the proud holder of two very fancy pieces of paper. Yay me!
Higher education has always been something I planned to pursue. Therefore, during my final year of undergrad I applied to graduate school. Singular. I found one program, fell in love, and decided that if they wouldn’t have me that maybe I needed to re-evaluate my life choices.
I was in luck – American University accepted my application six days after submission and awarded me a merit scholarship as well as a graduate assistantship.
I am now officially and American Eagle… No joke, this is literally our mascot.
So that’s where I am now. Living the highlife in Washington D.C., my favorite city in America.
Haha, just kidding (about the highlife part). Like a typical grad student I’m super broke and survive mostly on the free food provided at events around campus.
But I do love D.C. and I love where I’m currently living. I found (on Facebook of all places!) a one-bedroom apartment that came fully furnished.
Needless to say, I’m in love with my new home.
My new school has been equally impressive. I’m enrolled in three classes this semester – which is literally half as many as I took as an undergrad. Trust me though, it keeps me plenty busy!
Between learning advanced theory and brushing up on my media writing skills, I’ve had a productive semester. I’m also looking forward to next semester because I’m taking a media production course as well as a crisis communication class and another theory course.
Getting to China
So back to the title of this post… yes, I meant to bury the lead.
One of the greatest things about AU is the vast amount of resources I have access to as well as the high number of opportunities that are provided to grad students, aka me.
One such opportunity came up in the form of an email sent on Oct. 10. Included in the email with an information letter briefly discussing a ten-day trip to three cities in China scheduled for mid-December. The email asked students to reply if they were interested. Immediately, I responded and said I’d like to learn more about the trip.
It was kind of short notice, and I'd already bought my ticket home for Winter Break, but I remember thinking, “What the heck, I’ll at least apply.”
Over a week passed and I’d heard nothing. Eventually, I ran into the AU program contact and asked if she had any updates on the trip. She informed me that there wasn’t an application like I’d believed. Instead, the first three people who had responded to her email got to attend the trip and, if I hadn’t heard anything, I likely wasn’t one of the three.
Disappointed and upset, I stewed about this selection process for the next six days until I received another email. I had been asked to provide my availability for a conference call within the next couple of days. The email also included paperwork asking for my passport number, emergency contacts, etc.
Shocked, I filled out the paperwork and waited for the call before getting too excited to tell anyone – with the exception of my sister – that I might be going to China.
The call went well and the result was – I was going to China! It left me numb as first; it was so mind boggling that I almost couldn’t process the information. Naturally, the next thing I did was call my mom and announce it to her.
At one point I mentioned how I was a bit sad I wouldn’t be home over either Thanksgiving or December to help decorate for Christmas.
My mother’s exact response: “Hunter, you’re going to freaking China!”
Next post: details on what I will be up to in China!
My name is Hunter and this the blog of my worldwide adventures. The purpose of this blog is to show that you can be a traveler, not just a tourist.