Looking at this picture almost 3 months after it was taken, I instantly recall the long nights and short days that I was overly familiar with throughout my 8-week program.

One thing I appreciated about the program was that our school weeks were never identical. When we were studying Chinese culture and history, we took a field trip to one of Beijing’s oldest Hutongs (胡同). When studying famous authors, we took a trip to a very popular bookstore, and our teacher even bought a book for each of us (I chose “Dying of the Light” by George R.R. Martin and the best thing was that it was written in Chinese).

Now referring to the picture above: The week we discussed the differences between the U.S. and China, we had a debate where the class was split in half, and we were given a day to prepare our material. My team had to defend freedom (speech, internet, and the right to bear arms) from an American perspective and the other team had to defend limitations (speech, internet, and the right to bear arms) from a Chinese perspective. We learned a lot about each side, and we got to have a friendly debate with our classmates in Chinese while I also gained a ton of new knowledge during this week.