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The Community of ISLP Engineering Delegation

The Community of ISLP Engineering Delegation

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essay about community
essay about community

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Published by: Mikaël Mickey R Verlaque on Oct 04, 2013
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Verlaque 1
Mickey VerlaqueFriday, October 4, yProfessor Grosvnore ENG001A Student’s Trip to ChinaIn June 2012, I was part of a group of students who travelled to China to visitengineering sights throughout the country. It was going to be an intense two weeks, packedwith many places to visit in a tight schedule. The main challenge was going to be how a groupof young, even motivated students, would cope with this schedule in a completely newcountry, very different from our own cultural backgrounds.We arrived at Beijing International Airport with the full delegation of InternationalScholar Laurette Program (ISLP) students. The ISLP student group was a delegation madeup of engineering, business, IR, science, and medical students. We were all college agestudents from the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and one student from Malaysia. TheMalaysian student ended up being my roommate. This was the first time for me meetinganyone in the program, as this was my first trip with the ISLP program. Everything was newto me in this community of students but right away I felt a bond of commonality because wewere all thrilled to be in China to explore the country and discover old and new feats of greatengineering. We were also going to learn about differences in cultural communities.The first day stood out in my mind because we all gathered officially for the first timefor orientation at the culture center. We not only got to know each other better but also metour delegation leaders, whom were also a key part of this community. It seems that we wereall going through a bit of culture shock. Since we were all from the Western world and noneof us had previously traveled to the East, we were not accustomed to the society, religion,
 
Verlaque 2
government, environment, and culture. We saw how culture is more about community thanan individual. We also seemed to rapidly grasp even if you spoke the language or thought youwere being polite according to your own culture, you could end up saying somethingcompletely different or being quite disrespectful. For example we had to call our tour guide‘Max’ because if we called him by his last name “Ma,” which would seem more respectful tous as Westerners, we could mispronounce it and say something very rude.In Beijing we visited many cultural sights. They represented a culture very differentthan our Western culture. These sights were of course great feats of engineering: The BeijingOlympic Park and The Great Wall of China. We visited the Olympic Park and saw theOlympic torch and the water cube. Unfortunately, we did not go inside the building. However,we did go inside the Birds Nest at the top part of the stadium. The Olympic torch was madeup of metal that was supported by silver metal support beams. The torch was red with theOlympic symbol and swirl designs in the background in gold. The water cube from outsidelooked like a cube; it looked like it was made up of some type of translucent material; and ithad a design that made it look like the surface of water in its wavy surface state. The BirdsNest from outside was made up of a red base for the stadium around it and the roof wasmade of metal beams and designed to make it look like a bird’s nest! Given the beauty of theoutside and that the Olympics were in 2008 our group was shocked to see how rundown theinterior was with sections of the track missing and the center of the field was gone! The onlyactivity was where people were driving on segways in one section of the track/field. Wewondered why they would not keep up this amazing sport facility. There, we also tasted someunique “Chinese food” sold by street vendors. In general, we loved our communal dinners of
 
Verlaque 3
delicious Chinese food. I put on several pounds and I am extremely thin. This time, wesampled fried scorpion and tarantula legs! There was a group effect. Since our delegationleader was adventurous enough to eat them, everybody in the group tried it. I personallypreferred the tarantula legs they were nutty, salty, chewy, and tasted like sunflower seeds butthe scorpion was too crunchy and bland. Not a usual snack!When we went to The Great Wall of China it was a magnificent sight. It gave theappearance of a stone snake, winding itself around the hills. It was also an excellent workout but you had to watch your step, as it was very steep with no protective barriers.Something we all thought of as a Western group, you should have some safety measures toprotect people from falling. Some of us did “planking” (lying flat next to each other) on thestairs of the wall for a photo. Planking is a recent trend for college kids in the western world.We got a lot of stares! I guess we seemed like silly Western students! But it was a bondingmoment for our group. We were in China but doing something we all had fun sharing.We did shopping as a group but it was also a cultural experience. We bought silk froma museum gift shop. We saw how silk was being made and how important it is in Chinese art,industry, and culture. It was an example of wealth and power in China. We also went to jadestores and we learned that jade in Chinese culture stands for serenity. Every step of our journey taught us about Chinese culture and about ourselves. We also had fun meetingChinese students and had a basketball game with Chinese students.When the trip was over, all of us in the delegation became very close.. We made aFacebook group called “ISLP Engineering group China 2012.” We all still stay in contact

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