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Monday, January 12, 2009

China's Largest Ag University

Today was a very exciting and busy day for our group! There were several really neat events that we were able to participate in.
We started out the day visiting the Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in YangLing, which is China’s largest agricultural university with 23,000 students. The campus was very modern and very large- 3,000 hector to be exact and also over 4,000 faculty. We were given the chance to talk with several students from the university majoring in various agricultural fields. Surprisingly most of the students were extremely proficient in English, allowing us to communicate very easily. We talked a little bit about college life and the similarities about our classes, but also we talked about regular every day differences between our cultures. For example, the Chinese students enjoy watching NBA basketball but we as Americans often tend to prefer NFL football. There are also several things that we share in common such as: the girls have a love for TV shows like Desperate Housewives and movies like Forrest Gump and Finding Nemo.

Then we moved on to have lunch where we talked with the students even more. It was a great opportunity to learn new things and share things with each other that we did not know before. After lunch we traveled to the university’s greenhouses where we looked at their different growing systems. They grew several beautiful exotic plants, as well as vegetables, and papaya trees, which were really cool. They also had a really nice hydroponics system in one of the greenhouses; hydroponics is a way to grow plants without soil- just a nutrient solution.
After leaving the campus and saying our goodbyes to our new found friends, we traveled an hour back to Xian to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is a symbol of Buddhist history in China. It was interesting to see the monks living their everyday lives, which encompass so much of history.

Finally ending our day we attended a Tang-Dynasty Palace Music and Dance performance with a dumpling dinner which included dumplings made of shark –fin, fish, pork, cow, interesting veggies, duck, and nuts ( a total of 18 different dumplings.) The music and dance show was amazing! The costumes were beautiful and the music and acting was enriched with so many different traces of Chinese culture both present and past. Today we learned so much not only about Chinese history and agriculture, but also about the present day lives of Chinese citizens. In conclusion, we would like to close our blog with a quote that some of our group made up at dinner: “Here’s to squatting toilets, brushing our teeth with bottled water, all while making new friends.”

Peace Out!

The Flobrasotakota Linawinoisginianans (aka: Cindy’s Group)
Carly Barnes, Florida
Berg, South Dakota
Heavner, Illinois
Hunter, Iowa
Long, North Carolina
Monson, South Dakota
Price, Virginia
Steger, Nebraska
Swartzfager, Florida
Young, Minnesota


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