Professional Writing major Sarah Bogdan ’20, and of Gillett, Pa., joined the “China-US Rising Star Study Tour” program. This highly competitive two-week exchange program only accepts around twenty students from across the United States. Sarah traveled to several cities in China, attending seminars, visiting leading industries, and learning cross-cultural communication skills.
In Beijing, she visited the Imperial Gardens, the Palace Museum, the Great Wall, and the Temple of Heaven, and at Beijing Vocational College of Agriculture (BVCA), she learned how to brew oolong tea and make traditional Chinese dumplings.
At Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute (SXPI) in Xi’an, she attended a lecture on China’s dynasties, emperors, ancient art, and calligraphy styles before trying her own hand at calligraphy. She also visited the Terracotta Warriors exhibit, the Xi’an Ancient City Wall, and the Bell Tower. The group also visited the BYD Automotive Manufacturing plant.
In Wuxi, she attended lectures at the Wuxi Vocational Institute of Commerce and visited the Wuxi Museum, the Huishan Earthen Figures Factory, the Qingming Ancient Bridge village, and the National Internet of Things Application Exhibition Centre.
The Rising Star program pairs American and Chinese students for the purpose of cultivating cross-cultural understanding. Noting that her Chinese friend Liu Shuai was fond of saying, “People are the same,” Sarah comments, “I now understand that the barriers between people of different cultures are not as big as they are perceived. It was difficult to say goodbye to all the amazing friends I made during the trip, but this lesson Liu Shuai taught me gives me hope as I look to the future.”
Regarding the program overall, Sarah observes, “I will never forget the lessons I learned from this study tour, and I will continue incorporating them in everything I do. The details we learned through workshops on the extensive history of China have increased my curiosity about not only world history, but also the details of my own country’s history. I also hope to embody the extreme friendliness and kindness exemplified by the Chinese students. Their broad range of knowledge of international history, geography, and pop culture has encouraged me to get out of my cultural ‘bubble’ and learn more about other nations and peoples. I am eager to continue doing so in all of my future endeavors.”
Sarah hopes to study abroad in China her senior year and is considering teaching English in China after she graduates.
Mansfield University supported Sarah’s program through International Travel as well as Asian Studies scholarships.