By: Brooke MacNab, University of Victoria
Over the last year and a half, I have been studying Chinese language and culture at The University of Victoria (UVic). This winter break, I had the opportunity to be a guest of South China University of Technology for eleven exciting and wonderful days on an educational scholarship program between the provinces of British Columbia, Canada and Guangdong, China.
As the plane descended towards the airport after 12 hours in the air, the cityscape of Guangzhou appeared and seemed to occupy the landscape as far as one could see, bathed in the evening sunset. Buildings of all sizes and shapes stretched out for what seemed like forever, and although I regrettably don’t have any photos, I will remember the awe and wonder I felt in that moment forever. Coming from a ‘small city’ like Victoria, where I have been born and raised, really doesn’t prepare you for the sight of buildings that touch the sky, and a skyline that stretches for miles. This was my introduction to the city of Guangzhou, almost 10,000 kilometres away from the place I call home.
The awe and wonder I felt as the plane descended stayed with me over the next 11 days of the trip, from attending intriguing lectures on the geography of Guangzhou, to experiencing dim sum for the first time, seeing a 360 degree view of the cityscape of Guangzhou from atop of the Canton TV Tower bubble tram, to having the opportunity to be the dinner guests in the home of a Chinese host family, to bargaining with vendors of the shopping districts of Beijing Road and Shangxiajiu Street, I can say without a doubt that this trip has left me with many wonderful memories of not only the sites seen, but the opportunity to try and learn new things, and last on this list but certainly not the least, the wonderful memories of the people who I met along the way.
I am confident that I can speak for our group of students from UVic when I say that this was the trip of a lifetime we are most grateful for having the opportunity to experience and that we will certainly be back to China to visit, study, or work in the near future.