A Short Visit to Nanchang
Post by Allana Nelson and Eduardo Polonsky, Babson College Class of 2017.
From Wednesday to Thursday, we had our first visit to a second tier city in China, Nanchang. We were not completely sure of what to expect, as were used to the city of Shanghai, a New York equivalent, thus we went in with an open mind. However, our ride in the bullet train to Nanchang gradually made us realize the difference between the two cities. We observed a lot more vegetation and smaller buildings than in Shanghai. When we finally arrived, the difference was more apparent. The bright red soil of the city was quite prominent, the rode were free of traffic but there was a high level of construction in comparison to Shanghai. Evidently, the city is developing and trying to catch up with first tier cities to boost their economy. Nevertheless we were able to experience the Chinese culture through their food which we had yet to experience. We did this by eating a variety of “mystery” meats which we ate before knowing the kind of meat. Among this meats we tried pig blood, pig brain, duck tongue (with teeth), duck feet, and dog stomach. Although we were told about the exotic meats that China had to offer, we did not expect to eat and “enjoy” them like we did. Not being aware of what we were truly eating in the moment, truly made a difference for the experience. However, the biggest difference we observed in Nanchang was the way the native people received us. People truly treated us like aliens. Not only we were pointed at and stared at, but people never hesitated to blatantly take pictures of us or with us. Most of them truly did not asked for permission or consent. It came to the point that when we were in museums, we felt as though we were the subjects of display. Which is quite different from the city of Shanghai, were is more common to see foreigners. After our experience in Nanchang, we finally realized that we cannot truly experience a country’s culture, after visiting only one city. It is highly recommended, to visit a number of cities, including second and third tier cities, in order to truly understand the culture of a country.
和平了- Peace Out
For more stories from the 2015 BRIC study abroad program, please click here.