“Live in the moment.”
“Keep an open mind—especially when it comes to food.”
“Always assume good will.”
“Try to cultivate humanity.”
As the 15 African American Dance Company students listened to these wise words during their final pre-departure meeting, it became real. We’re going to China. WE’RE GOING TO CHINA!
Dr. Raymond Wise, who toured with his students in the African American Choral Ensemble through Germany, encouraged the dancers to embrace every experience they have in Beijing. Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, chair of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, shared memories from her past travels to China.
“I have never felt like a stranger in China,” Dr. Calloway-Thomas said. “I even had to call my sister and tell her, “They treat me like Beyonce here!”‘
The laughter eased some nerves. For many students, this will be their first experience traveling outside of the U.S.—and for some, their first time on an airplane.
From passports to jet lag to packing lists to itineraries, Professor Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company, made sure the students are prepared for their departure in just 10 days.
On top of the typical responsibilities that come with international travel, the dancers must be ready to perform. The dancers shared information and tips about staying healthy, especially with the 12-hour time difference.
The students left the meeting overwhelmed with information, but overjoyed with excitement. They talked about ordering matching jackets, making gifts for the Chinese students they meet, and all the types of food they want to eat.
The adventure has just begun.