One of the nice opportunities for my university is an exchange between what I heard was called chopstick countries – China’s Beijing, Korea’s Seoul, and Japan’s Tokyo.
What is it for? Probably fostering the relationship between these powerhouses. Hence, in terms of selecting students in my school, I think that they prioritize the Japanese students, then work on the diversity (seriously, diversity is a BIG deal). Either way, what happened?
Btw, this is an extremely late blog entry and I can’t remember the details that well, so I’m no longer separating the rants and facts. Read at your own risk.
The Beijing Nightmare
This happened in summer. In August. If you ask me when to NOT go to any of these countries, August will probably be my answer. It’s hot. It’s humid. And it RAINS a lot.
A group of students from Peking University welcomed us at the airport, which was, well, very welcoming. We got into the bus, and went straight to the Hotel.
We checked in our hotels, and immediately felt the lack of access to the world’s internet. Goodbye email. Goodbye facebook. Goodbye line. I felt like the Chinese government was basically putting me in a box that tells me how I should act and the extent at which I can do things (well, they probably are).
We then proceeded to the university where I the value of the small piece of paper from Guagua (???) School of Management was evident. People were lining up to get into the school, and I’m talking hundreds of meters worth of line. Our bus skipped the line (and in the next couple of days), we sometimes are dropped off outside the school and we have to show that piece of paper to get in).
For the next week, we had classes in the school, company visits and a cancelled visit to the Great Wall of China. Why? Because it. just. won’t. stop. raining. on our free day.
Leaving Beijing, we were a couple of hours early, but with the extremely long and convoluted lines, we made it to the boarding gate 10 minutes after boarding time. Was it the scariest time in my flying life? No (see offloaded). But darn it’s a close second. Good thing the plane was late for half an hour, which we were told when we got into the boarding gate.
Fun in Seoul
Hello, internet! Plenty of notifications the moment we got into Incheon airport.
Same drill as the one in Peking – get into the bus, check in to the hotel, sleep, go to school and go to company trips.
For our free time, the students brought us to Lotte World, where other people went shopping and my group got lost walking looking for seats. We also went to plenty of restaurants, and a kitchen play (which was hilarious but whose title I no longer remember). We also had an activity where we make Korean alcohol from rice. Unfortunately, we were flying the next day and the concoction is not allowed for flying (coz it’s alcohol and it’ll explode on air. No thanks) so we had to leave it.
Home, sweet home, Tokyo.
Finally! We’re back to Tokyo!!!
Same drill – except the Tokyo people went their own way the moment we landed at Haneda.
For our free time, there’s no organized activity (yeah, Tokyo didn’t care). But we did tour our own groups! 😀 My group did the Omotesando – Meiji Shrine – Shibuya – Akihabara tour.
Well, this is just an overview, and if I do get the time (and can still remember it), I’ll probably write more. Or not.