Zia Moore: Stepping Stones to My Future

Greeted by my future, I quickly realized that this was it. As I entered the office of the Zhonghao Law Firm, I instantly felt at home. I knew from that point on that I made the right decision to accept this opportunity and use it to help me reach my ultimate career goal. As everyone’s first day is, mine was overwhelming and filled with anxiety. I knew I wanted to make a great impression on the firm and take advantage of all that was to come. Some of my responsibilities at the firm includes, reviewing and analyzing cases, discussing and demonstrating understanding of legal terms and laws, assisting my mentor in various projects, and helping her with her English.

My mentor Jean and I established a great foundation following my first assignment. I was asked to analyze a case and to bring in my notes so we could further discuss it and I could understand the basis of the cases as well as the laws involved. I was immediately discouraged once I begin to work on the case because it was my first time being exposed to that kind of content and it was difficult for me to understand most of the terms. I also struggled to depict what was important and what was not. As overwhelming as it became, I stuck it through and return the following day. To my surprise, despite not being able to comprehend most of the material, Jean was understanding and helped me work through the cases page by page. From then on, our work relationship has gotten stronger. She makes sure to take out the time and breakdown various business laws, court procedures, and legal terms until I fully understand all the basis of the cases. Everyday that I leave the office I feel more and more confident and ready to tackle the next task.

Prior to accepting the internship, I made Jean aware that business law was not of my complete interest and that I would have preferred to learn more about criminal law. In order to please my interests, Jean has now allowed me to explore more of the criminal law side of things and has helped me to her best ability. Regardless of what kind of law I am studying during my time here in Chengdu, I still appreciate the opportunity as well all the knowledge and experience I am gaining by having such a great attorney mentor me. I aspire to be a civil rights and juvenile lawyer after attending law school. After gaining experience and recognition I plan to become a politician and possibly running for local office. My short terms goals consist of applying for the 4+1 program at my home school, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and obtaining my Bachelor’s in Political Science and my Master’s in Criminal Justice. I then intend to study law overseas and work as a paralegal throughout law school. My plans for my future are very important to me because I want to ensure that I am pushing myself to my full potential. I want to take advantage of all the skills, experience and knowledge I can in order to meet my ultimate career goals. Interning at the Zhonghao Law Firm here in Chengdu is just the beginning and I intend to take make use of all the connections I have made and will make in my remaining time here.

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Amelia Chumney: Internship at DeHeng Law Offices

I am a law intern at DeHeng Law Offices, where I help to clarify and condense English contracts and aid my supervisor by writing reports on contracts and legal relationships between clients. Every week, my internship supervisor gives me an assignment to work on in addition to helping attorneys if they need a native English speaker. DeHeng Law Offices is a corporate law firm, so every time I get a new assignment, I learn more about business and administrative law in both China and America.

I was very excited to earn this internship because of my interest in the legal industry in my host and my home countries. I know I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity because it’s incredibly difficult for a freshman to get an internship like mine. I enjoy helping attorneys with English content because I love using language as a communicative and cultural tool, and the tasks I’m assigned weekly are teaching me skills which I can take with me into my career even if I don’t go to law school.

My internship will extend into the summer. When I leave, I will have worked at DeHeng Law Offices for about six months. I’m looking forward to the new experiences I will gain in the firm before I go home.

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Kenia Alvarado Martinez: Rollercoaster of Emotions

It has almost been a month since I left the US to study in China and it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Even though before I left, I read articles and watched videos to prepare me for travel it still wasn’t enough. Once I got here, I lost my bags, was irritated and exhausted and ready to crawl in a corner. It sounds bad but it could only go uphill from that moment on. Within these past few weeks I’ve done things I never expected to do back at home. I went out with people from G-MEO and from Chengdu. I dined on some pretty peculiar stuff like chicken feet and duck head which wasn’t bad. More than anything else I left home, my comfort zone for somewhere new.

Unfortunately, I know very little Chinese and still can’t get around to the farther places in Chengdu by myself but in some ways, it reminds me of home. It gives me a sense of peace when I can go to a cafe and study for hours on end with a cup of coffee. There are trees down every street which I am thankful for! The calmness of Chengdu is infectious and gives me the peace I need to enjoy myself and focus on my work. I’m thankful for the people I have met so far and the G-MEO staff for helping me to assimilate here in China.

 

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Christina Batista: Expect the Unexpected: Sichuan Opera

In America, I was so sure I was familiar with all opera had to offer. I’ve seen operas in Italian, in German, in French; before I left the states, I had just seen Le Nozze de Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, and Il Tabarro. I was so certain when going into the Sichuan Opera House that I would see the same, plot-based singing I was so used to, only to be thrown into a 360. The Sichuan Opera is a playground for the mind, a stimulation for all the senses. The sweetness of the tea, the herbal scent lingering in the air, the warmth of the cup in my hands, all leading up to the show before me. Men and women in beautiful clothes and fine silks marched around on the stage as they sang the songs of their people, acrobats tumbling every which way. A woman crafted scenery from the shadows of her hands, telling us a story of Chinese wildlife, people, and greenery from the mere tips of her fingers. A man played the erhu at top speeds and a woman sang so sweetly, leaving stars in the eyes of children and adults alike who watched on. A couple bickered jokingly, all while the husband balanced a candle on his head, making even those who did not understand the language double over in laughter and delight. Men breathed fire and magically changed faces, lighting up the house in oranges and blues, leaving the audience in awe as cheers roared from every direction.
I don’t think any foreigner will be prepared for the pure captivation the Sichuan Opera House supplies. I was so sure I knew what to expect, only to be left speechless. One of the beauties of China and studying abroad is that we never know exactly what to expect. Every day is an adventure, and every night is a new opportunity to explore the world around us. To experience and be witness to something so different, so inherently special, left me excited with the prospect that there is so much more to the world than what I know.

 

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Dejah S. Smith: Chengdu: Familiar Yet Different

In New York, where I frequent, has little areas around the city that is supposed to represent a whole culture. In lower Manhattan lies Chinatown, where tourists come in to take pictures and eat “Chinese” food. I can admit that I was like that at one point, but now that I am actually in China I feel like these little towns are not a great representation of China.

Living on a Chinese campus is nothing like an American campus. Sichuan campus is part of the community. There is a hospital, bus stops, small family stores, phone store, and etc. right on campus. In the morning I see the elderly practice Tai Chi or taking their grandchildren to play, and throughout the day kids play basketball. I love how connected everything is. I feel like every day there is something new to find or do on and off campus. Even though I have only been here a month I feel like I have been here longer because of the G-MEO staff and the people who own the restaurants I frequent a lot. Though I speak little Chinese and they speak little or no English at all we communicate through small gestures. I hope I continue to enjoy China.

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Kathryn Calenberg-Laviola:We Had Fun Opera and BBQ Nights

This week we got to experience Chinese theater when going to the Sichuan Opera. Song, dance, and acrobatics were magnificently showcased. Brilliant colors painted the faces of the actors while dressed dazzling clothes as they danced across the stage. As we watched the various performances we sat back and relaxed while we snacked on sunflower seeds and sipped on our freshly brewed hot tea.

 

Later, as the week unfolded, we went out with our Chinese buddies and went to KTV (Karaoke). There we got our own room and sang a mixture of Chinese and English songs. The mood was cheery as we exchanged songs that we knew and sang along to them.

 

A Chinese intern from G-MEO introduced some of us to his friend who is from a media industry. Eight lucky people in our group got to contribute in a video: “foreigners try Chinese snacks”. We got to the shoot and tried new and yummy snacks. It fun to try each of them and give our opinions. It was so nice of them to invite us. Afterwards, they gave us a gift of some of the snacks we tried and some additional snacks, they even took us out to eat dinner with them and we had BBQ.

 

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Kathryn Calenberg-Laviola:Our First Week in Chengdu

Our first week of coming to China in Spring 2019 has been such a spectacular adventure. Meeting new people and creating new friendships as we explore Sichuan Province. Everyone that we have encountered has been friendly and all of us are excited to see what China has to offer. Each day we are greeted with new things to find and explore. The culture and all the experiences we have had so far have been incredible. Some words that we as a group though best to describe China and our experiences so far were beautiful, flavorful, rich-culture, modern, and spicy.

Some trips and sightseeing that have occurred include we went as a group to visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. While there we got to see the giant pandas as well as some cute red pandas.

 

 

Some of us got to take a trip down to the CDIFS (Chengdu International Financial Center), a mega shopping mall located in the city center of Chengdu. There we got to see the featured world’s largest panda art piece that hangs right off the building. We also got to eat hot pot with our Chinese buddies. Sichuan hot pot is part of Asian cuisine, famous for its spiciness.

This is just the beginning of a wonderful semester in China!



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MAY WE MEET AGAIN

 

I am writing this blog in the same airport where Sara picked us up the first time. It feels like a dream, like China never happened… back then, these young students came with their suitcases full of fears, promises, anxiety, and excitement. It is amazing to see how we have grown not only personally but culturally along this journey. Certainly, we are not the same ones who came that September 1st. Today, those same young students leave with their suitcase full of dreams, lessons, knowledge, experiences, laughs, tears, and let’s not forget also full of alibaba stuff haha. I have tried to write this blog without crying but I think it is impossible at this time. We all feel we are leaving a part of our life in China, we all feel it is our home now, too. However, we all knew this moment was going to come, and nobody prepares you for goodbyes. If you told me a year ago I was going to have one of the best experiences of my life and it was going to happen in China, I would not believe it at all. On my last walk through Chengdu, I stopped for a moment to see everything around me and I remember saying “I never thought I was going to be able to say this, but I’m going to miss China” and I guess that’s how life works, when you do not expect something, it just arrives and changes your life. For me, this experience was life-changing. Living three months in a new culture, submerging yourself in new customs, style of living and learning their language makes you open your eyes to a more real world that you are not taught in a classroom. I am proud of everything I have learned throughout this trip, and I think my classmates and friends feel the same. We have achieved a lot in this time, from the smallest such as do laundry without dryer, to the more complicated like make a bank account, use the high speed train, buy with Alipay, going to dinner with friends and even with all of that, having time for homework. Many of us practiced time management without even realizing it. Now, we have knowledge of a new culture that although different is beautiful and when you start learning about it, you love it.

Nevertheless, this trip would not be a true experience without the people we met. I want to thank everyone, from our teachers to the G-MEO team for changing our lives, for always being there for us and making us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. Also, I want to give special mention to the buddies, our Chinese friends. That group of young people who welcomed us, taught us, fed us and gave us so much love that I will always be grateful for. This experience would not be the same without you guys, a fundamental part of everything we learned from China came from you and that is valuable.

Without a doubt, life will not be the same without having each of you around us, but we leave with the hope that one day we will meet again and that fills my soul. Crystal once told me that you will never forget someone, because they always stay in your mind and in your heart. And that’s exactly where I’ll always have each one of you… I love you and I am going to miss you a lot.

May we meet again!!

PDTA: For the new students who will come after us, I promise you there will be no regrets for coming to China. You will learn and enjoy a place that although different from ours is full of history and beautiful people. I already congratulate you for having the courage to travel and choose China. I hope you have the experience of your lives and love these people as much as I love them. Take care of each other as family and take care of the G-MEO team because without them nothing could be possible. Also, careful with alibaba haha it ​​is an addiction!! Good luck guys!!

 

Atte: Arianna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THANKSGIVING IN CHINA??

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FAM!!

Last Thursday, we celebrated the day that many of our students were waiting for, Thanksgiving! This celebration is one of the most important holidays in the United States. For those who do not know about this celebration, I am going to tell you about it. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the third Thursday of each November. It was originally a day when people celebrated the end of the harvest and were grateful for it. Today, this celebration is a family day, where everyone gathers to give thanks for the good things they have had throughout the year and the bad things as well. The best of thanksgiving is THE TURKEY! Oh yeah, baby… Also, being able to be reunited with your family and share together, watch movies or just chatting is something to be grateful for. So, of course, the Chengdu American Center prepared a special celebration together with the Amazing IELTS. Many children and their parents attended, and the only requirement was to bring a plate of food to share with everyone. We had more than 100 dishes! Among salads, pizzas, noodles, dumplings, chicken, pork, rice and many sweets. Everything you could imagine was on that table, and yes, turkey!! It could not be missed. I did give thanks that day for the amount of food haha.

Throughout the night, we had many performances. We opened with the “little turkeys” (cute children) dancing. Also, some of our students sang, among those students were me and Onyx, we sang in Spanish and of course broke few windows with our voices (just kidding!). Additionally, Jordan sang a very engaged rap song. He is another student of the center, who, apart from his career, also dedicates to make music. At the end of the celebration, our friend Maggie, a dance teacher, delighted us dancing a few songs. We had a lot of fun trying to follow her dance moves. Unquestionably, it was a different Thanksgiving where we enjoyed with the people of the community, ate, sang and even danced! We had a great time. In addition, shout-out to the photographer!! Way to go my friend! Such great pictures. I am going to share them so you can envy our party ha-ha!

 

 

 

 

 

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FREE TRIP: meeting the Gēlǎozú in Nuo City

Last week, some of the students visited the city of Chongqing, Nuo City and the Balahu Valley. Chongqing is a big and rising city in China. In its effort to promote tourism in this city, the municipality sponsors many trips to see the beautiful city, as well as its surrounding mountains and valleys.

At night, the lights of the skyline that are reflected in the river will leave you breathless. G-MEO students had the opportunity to go to one of these trips with students of different nationalities who are studying Chinese in Chongqing. There were students from Russia, Vietnam, Thailand, Germany and many more. The two days included a great hotel, food and entrance to the sights almost for free (~ $10).

The first destination was Nuo City, a beautiful place surrounded by mountains. Entering this city is only possible, when drinking a local beverage! Within this small city, the government provides the villagers with spaces for the sale of their merchandise and food.

Also, there is an attraction park (“Magic Island”). There is no doubt the students enjoyed it and felt like children again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the dinner, they had the opportunity to witness an opera starring by Gēlǎozú group, one of the 56 ethnic groups recognized by the Chinese government. In this show, opera and meal are mixed together. First, the appetizers are served to you. Second, you get their special drink with some bread and third the main dish. While this is happening, the opera continues: acting, singing and dancing.
Very entertaining!

The opera ended with a dance around the fire, in which all the foreigners and the inhabitants of the village gathered and danced together around it. This was one of our best experiences!

The next day, the group visited the Puhua River and Balahu Valley, where we had the opportunity to take the boat and meet several caves and very peculiar rock formations. The valley has a waterfall and green water that matches the color of the mountains around it. Also, they found the famous glass bridge, which you can cross to see the Abysmal Valley. Unfortunately, they did not have the opportunity to cross it since it was raining, and it would be too dangerous. However, Puhua River offered us this hanging bridge instead:

Without hesitation, I can say China is one of the best countries I’ve ever met. The beauties, the culture and the exquisite food that you can find throughout your stay are amazing! Also, knowing and learning about the minorities and sharing a special moment with them was one of the best highlights of this trip.

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