We woke up bright and early in a fog to get to the bus in Bloomington, then headed off to the airport where we had some breakfast and shared our hopes and anxieties for the trip. Then it was off to Beijing on a 13-hour flight. We were all exhausted, but it seemed no one could quite get to sleep. We were brimming with excitement. When we landed, we were met with the heavy smog we had all been told to expect in Beijing. Our tired bodies were quickly awakened by the knowledge that we had made it to China! Some students from CUMTB met us at the airport, and then we all got bussed back to the university where we met more Chinese students and prepared for our first meal in China. We ate various traditional plates in a family-style meal with a giant rotating plate in the middle to pass dishes around. At the end of the day we were all tired with full bellies and high hopes for this trip, and some wonderful new Chinese friends to share it with!
— Ella, Freshman, Neuroscience
I could not even sleep last night because I was so thrilled to be heading to China today! At four o’clock this morning, we all met in Bloomington and were bussed to Chicago to board our direct flight to Beijing. I admit I definitely underestimated the flight duration; thirteen hours is actually a lot longer than I made it out to be. However, I was still able to have an enjoyable experience within those hours watching movies and bonding with a few of my teammates. Upon our arrival, we were all pretty exhausted and worn out from the long day of travel, but we were excited to have finally made it! We were in China! We had a nice surprise waiting for us at the airport, too. Some of the students from CUMTB greeted us with a warm welcome to their home. We were also treated to a traditional, family-style Chinese meal at our hotel to welcome us to the space in which we would be staying. I have been very impressed so far. I can immediately sense the cultural differences and that makes me even more excited to see what we encounter this week. I cannot wait to reunite with our CUMTB friends and mentors and see more of what Beijing has to offer!
—Jalyn, Freshman, Human Biology