My 5 Star Study Abroad Experience - Discovering Beijing, China (One Day at a Time)

College can be such a stress during the academic year that most individuals don't do much over the summer. Although, I am one of those individuals who tries to do as much as possible in a given period of time. Summer is actually one of the best times to get anything you personally want done or maybe even what your parents want you to do, so what I decided to do this summer is go overseas on a study abroad program. My destination was Beijing, China and the program was held through the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and hosted by Peking University in Beijing. The ultimate goal of this study abroad program was to give a detailed look into the rise of China through the eyes of those who know it best: scholarly educators and local individuals. We all knew that we would learn a lot prior to going on the trip, yet we didn't know how much this would entail. So, our collective first step was to book a flight to Beijing, China individually and then fly internationally for 13 hours to our final destination in order to begin our journey and experience of Beijing with fierce determination.

Here are some brief recaps of a few of the program days:

  • May 19th: Old Summer Palace Adventure
  • May 20th: Official tour of Peking University and 1st Beijing subway experience (PKU campus below)
  • May 21st: Visited largest Muslim mosque in China
  • May 22nd: Tried out KTV (karaoke) in Beijing (KTV building below)
  • May 23rd: Visited the Forbidden City
  • May 25th: Hiked part of the Great Wall (Picture of me at the Great Wall below)
  • May 26th: Visited the Temple of Heaven
  • May 30th: Red Theatre performance (Red Theatre below)
  • June 1st: Summer Palace exploration
  • June 2nd: Beijing museum day
  • June 7th: Iron Man 3 (didn't happen though it was planned)
  • June 8th: Hotel lobby argument and wedding ceremony

Overall, I will remember my study abroad experience as a time of recreating myself as an individual. My beliefs, ideas, and assumptions were challenged throughout the entire study abroad program thus I had to improvise sometimes. Also, I was able to impart some knowledge, experiences, and morals onto those individuals I came in contact with through the study abroad program to while being in Beijing, China. Finally, here is what I will take away from going on the SPEA in Beijing 2013 study abroad program and apply to my future life.

The Overall Beijing Study Abroad experience (post-trip):

I found out that a lot of my suspicions about Beijing, China were true, but a few items were not. These items included: huge monetary gap among the socioeconomic classes, culturally homogenous in that a single ethnic group dominates Beijing class society, most individuals observed seem very financially insecure, and the environment was much worse than I thought originally.

I managed to learn a lot about the Chinese modernization in the past fifty years, practice my Mandarin speaking skills, learn more about Chinese culture, develop a deeper knowledge base about Chinese politics, network with other study abroad students, enhance my communication abilities on the trip, be a leader for a day during the program, explore lots of places in Beijing, and document every single day’s happenings throughout the trip.

I will now leave you all with a famous picture of the CCTV tower in Beijing, China. Enjoy!

About The Author
Kevin KingProud Hoosier Alumni, Warsaw IN, Class of 2015

Hello! I am known as Kevin to many of my fellow peers, friends, and family.

I am a recent college graduate of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, with duel minors in Political Science and International Studies along with a Political & Civic Engagement certificate.

My college life was filled with academics and extracurricular activities, but especially as a senior.  I was heavily involved with the following campus organizations/departments: Residential Programs & ServicesFirst Year Experience, Student Peace Alliance, and the Office of Student Life and Learning. Finally, I was a student blogger for WeAreIU.com for three years.

Fun fact: I have worked Summer New Student Orientation twice as a Program Assistant!

Stay true and have fun Hoosiers!