A group of graduate and professional students — dubbed the “Yale 50” — spent 10 days in China over winter break, learning its language and culture.
On their first full day there, they visited Tianamen Square …
… And the Forbidden City.
To ward off the cold, the delegation purchased Panda head hoods.
"We made quite a spectacle when we were passing by,” recalls one delegate.
The delegates donned traditional Chinese garb during a visit to the Confucius Institute, a center dedicated to promoting Chinese language and culture.
They held a New Year’s celebration at Beijing Foreign Studies University …
… Featuring a specially made cake.
Beijing Olympic Stadium, a.k.a. “The Bird’s Nest,” was “the most compelling structure in Beijing,” said one student.
Of the Great Wall of China, one delegate said: “My jaw dropped at the length and height of this historical wall amidst the mountains of China that seemed to be never-ending."
Another noted that the sign at the ancient structure that says “One City One Dream 2008 Beijing Olympics” suggests a melding of the old and the new.
After being formally welcomed at East China Normal University (ECNU) …
… The group took a tour of Old Shanghai …
… And had the chance to admire its ancient beauty.
The next day, they learned about the history and development of Shanghai.
“Prof. Jiang said if you want to understand China for the past 100 years, go to Shanghai,” recalls one student.
A group of Yale and ECNU students visited the Shanghai Museum …
… Which houses 12,000 precious works of art.
After a tour along the Shanghai waterfront …
… The delegates visited the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is 1,538 feet high.
The view of the city from the tower was “fantastic,” said one delegate.
During their stay at ECNU, the Yale students had lessons in Mandarin.
While there, they also had a lesson in Chinese calligraphy …
… Where they were instructed to “dance the brush across the page.”
On another day, they learned the fine art of dumpling making.
Other highlights of the trip included a visit to Shanghai Volkswagen …
… And Fudan University, “arguably China’s top university,” according to one student.
“At Fudan University, it was evident how strongly Chinese people want to replicate the U.S. prosperity …,” noted one student.
The delegation returned home on January 9. “By far, the most valuable experiences were connections made with students and their families — two communities from opposite sides of the planet seeking common ground.”