I was ecstatic to be picked for the Beijing partnership trip. Being able to see the relationship that is being built between Tsinghua University Art Museum and Eskenazi Art Museum of Indiana University was an experience I will never forget. All of the connections we made while in China were rewarding beyond the trip and will be with me forever.
The culture, food, and history all were truly wonderful to immerse ourselves in. I had learned a lot about China in my undergraduate career and I never imagined I would be able to see it first hand. It was a lot like being a kid and all you want is to see that castle at Disney World and you finally go and it was everything you imagined. This trip was like that for me.
We were able to go to the Forbidden City for a day and the historical significance of the location was something you could sense. There were areas we were not allowed to go and places we were unable to see in just one day. The area is approximately 150,000 square meters to give a sense of its size. Also, if you are lucky enough, you will see some of the palace cats that reside within the Forbidden City.
We had an excursion to the Great Wall; it was a sincerely breathtaking visit. The part of the Great Wall we visited was Mutianyu and it is one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall. The section we visited had a tower that ends and where the “Wild Wall” begins. The “Wild Wall” is a deteriorated and unrestored portion of the Great Wall and is typically not safe for tourists but people do hike along the area.
The Yonghe, or Lama Temple, was another place we were able to visit. It was snowing like a movie set, perfectly big snowflakes that fell in slow motion to the ground. The incense smoke lifted into the air as the snowflakes passed one another. Everything felt serene and created a dreamlike atmosphere for our visit. In the “Hall of Boundless Happiness” was a 26m tall (85.3ft) contained the Maitreya Buddha carved out of a single piece of white sandalwood. It was as impressive as it sounds.
Returning home after this spring break trip I was made into a different person, in the best way. I am able to share my experiences with my friends and family, look at photos, and cherish everything about this extraordinary opportunity. I am beyond appreciative for the MAAA program and Indiana University sending me along on such an amazing journey.