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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010


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Last night, I slept on the Great Wall of China. Or perhaps more accurately, I didn't sleep on the Great Wall, seeing as the hot, muggy weather was especially conducive to biting flies and mosquitos.

However unfortunate this might have been for my beauty sleep, it gave me time to think. About where I was and who I am. A foreigner in a strange country, I simply set up shop on a UNESCO World Heritage Site and tried to sleep on it. This isn’t something most people get to experience, and I was both awed and astonished by the relative ease of our ascent to the Wall. Granted, the trek itself wasn’t easy, but the lack of security around this massive testament to the will and power of the old Chinese Dynasties seemed a bit odd in contrast to some of China’s other policies. The Great Wall has a power to it that is totally remarkable, something most of us rarely encounter. It’s presence on the earth has withstood the test of time. And I slept on it.

Modern life has taken away from us some of the awe and magic that used to be so prevalent. As cosmopolitan humans we are now far more comfortable sleeping on a jumbo jet blasting along through the heavens than out in the wilderness underneath the stars. We are more content to have wonder mass-produced and force fed us by multinational coporations than to find it ourselves. This passiveness and apathy is a massive loss to mankind. Where is the power, the grace, in watching a film, or browsing the internet, or living in a city where the smog chokes the sky of its stars? What really shocked me last night was the fact that even though I considered myself a person open to new experiences, I couldn’t help but dream of my bed in London, of a nice hot shower, or even of getting in a car to take me home. I have been so conditioned by my upbringing to desire comfort and familiarity that I would chose that over something great. Which brings me to the title of this post. “I don’t know which way I’m going, I don’t what I’ll become” is part of the song Kingdom Come, by Coldplay on their album X&Y. I feel like it perfectly expresses my feelings at the moment. At this beginning of my adventure here in China, I have absolutely no inkling of which direction I’ll be heading or who this trip will make me into.

The images attached to this yak are photos of a group of us spelling words with candles, using a long exposure on a camera to create the effect. Dragons China Intern 2010.

PS. To my family: I love you all and hope you’re all having a blast at the beach.

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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I don’t know which way I’m going, I don’t what I’ll become

Michael Steel,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Last night, I slept on the Great Wall of China. Or perhaps more accurately, I didn’t sleep on the Great Wall, seeing as the hot, muggy weather was especially conducive to biting flies and mosquitos. However unfortunate this might have been for my beauty sleep, it gave me time to think. About where I was […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Michael Steel

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    [post_content] => Our first night in China under the stars proved to be a rewarding and challenging experience. The group really came together as we went through the age old task of building a fire inside one of the great wall guard towers. It was an amazing spot to sit around a camp fire and the mood was one of awe and appreciation as we gazed at the smoke billowing upwards towards the starry sky. It was so far one of the best moments we have shared together, but our best times and our worst times happened to be at the same time.

After a great fire session we headed back to our sleeping bags and snuggled in just as the insects began to descend. The fire had probably kept them at bay, but now the muggy heat of Beijing in July welcomed them to our little campsite. We were short on sleep in the morning due to the constant buzzing of insects around our heads that insisted on keeping us awake and on guard.

It seems that in more challenging moments people's true character can become more visible, the shroud of presentation lifts away, leaving the core more exposed. At 5:30AM everyone was awake, tired, and wishing for an air conditioned room with a mattress. The frustration didn't show however, and students were still able to laugh, help each other, and even had the energy and desire to hike up to the next ridge line to get a view of the ancient wall that stretched off towards the sun rising in the east. This morning was a monumental moment on the course and a real testament to the quality of our group. If we can be deprived of sleep, eaten alive in sweltering heat, and still smile and laugh, and charge uphill at 5:30 in the morning, just to get another taste of China, just to take in one more glimpse of beauty, just to push ourselves a little further, then we can go anywhere together.
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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Wall of Greatness

I-TEAM,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Our first night in China under the stars proved to be a rewarding and challenging experience. The group really came together as we went through the age old task of building a fire inside one of the great wall guard towers. It was an amazing spot to sit around a camp fire and the mood […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

I-TEAM

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    [post_content] => Yesterday i arrived in Kunming adter about 21 hours of travel! Suprisingly I wasn't too jet lagged so I was able to jump right in. I was able to explore a little bit of Kunming, including the green lake garden, which is beautiful and covered with lilies. I I also loved watching the giant groups of older women all dancing the same dance in the garden. Apparently this is going on pretty much all day everyday! You never see anything like this in the US! Tonight I will be meeting my host family, which I am very excited about! I love the independce that the Dragon's internship program gives you. To really get to know a place when traveling, you must live like a local, and that is just what this program is doing for us.
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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Kunming

Emily Baratta,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Yesterday i arrived in Kunming adter about 21 hours of travel! Suprisingly I wasn’t too jet lagged so I was able to jump right in. I was able to explore a little bit of Kunming, including the green lake garden, which is beautiful and covered with lilies. I I also loved watching the giant groups […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Emily Baratta

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Hello,

Today we began exploringBeijing through a scavenger hunt, and taking the bus to Tiananmen Square and going to the Forbidden palace. Sheila, one of the trip leaders, and I told the group about Tiananmen. I find it really interesting that most Chinese people think of Tiananmen as "the place to go" when they don't know the whole history behind Tiananmen. The Chinese government is very strict and wants to eliminate anything and everything that might threaten the status of their power. As a result, many Chinese people do not know about the student/worker rebellion that happened in Tiananmen in 1989. Lack of information/filtered informationregarding Tiananmen and Chairman Mao also connects to the fact that the Chinese government does not allow Chinese people to access youtube or facebook. There's a lot of information on the internet that the government does not want people to know about.

It seems sort of amazing to me that such a significant event can be erased almost completely from history, or Chinese history anyway. It will be interesting to see how China will change as time goes on.

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Beijing and Tiananmen

Mei Li Isaacson,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Hello, Today we began exploringBeijing through a scavenger hunt, and taking the bus to Tiananmen Square and going to the Forbidden palace. Sheila, one of the trip leaders, and I told the group about Tiananmen. I find it really interesting that most Chinese people think of Tiananmen as "the place to go" when they don’t […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Mei Li Isaacson

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Hello!

Currently we are on our second full day in Cambodia. To kickoff our adventure, our instructor team set us off on a scavenger hunt!

At the Psar O Russei market, we saw, heard, smelled and felt many different things. We saw little children playing with the garbage on the side corner, beautiful silks displayed by eager saleswomen, and much western clothing being resold. We heard the commotion coming from the food markets onthe first floor, the street sounds in the background, and the whirring of sewing machines as seamstresses worked away. We smelled Cambodian style fish, the fried foods the vendors were selling, and the collective scent of hundreds of people gathered in one location. We felt both nervous and excited by our chaotic surroundings, but most of all we felta connection to our seamstress and friendSrey Pou who helped us navigate the market and told us about Cambodian life in Phnom Penh.

The scavenger hunt was lots of fun, and now we're off to the olympic stadium!

Jum Riep Leah!

Leah, Yuki, Eric, and Zach

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Scavenger Hunt

Leah Feiger, Yuki Davis, Eric Nelson, and Zach Stone,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Hello! Currently we are on our second full day in Cambodia. To kickoff our adventure, our instructor team set us off on a scavenger hunt! At the Psar O Russei market, we saw, heard, smelled and felt many different things. We saw little children playing with the garbage on the side corner, beautiful silks displayed […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Leah Feiger, Yuki Davis, Eric Nelson, and Zach Stone

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Greetings!

Yesterday I was harrassed by a clown in McDonalds. And by harrassed, Imean it spoke Chinese to me and I felt awkward and just silly that a 5'1 clown was talking to me. Today, there are no scary chinese clowns on our agenda. But there are candles. Thats right, we have to go find candles. 12 of them. Why? We have no idea, but it sounds just so much less scary than clowns. Its raining right now, which should hopefully clear up the lovely pollution in the air. Michael and I hope to see blue sky before we leave Beijing, but thats about as likely as finding a unicorn in our bathrooms. Hope everything is going well at home. 

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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GNERDS

Chandler and Michael,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Greetings! Yesterday I was harrassed by a clown in McDonalds. And by harrassed, Imean it spoke Chinese to me and I felt awkward and just silly that a 5'1 clown was talking to me. Today, there are no scary chinese clowns on our agenda. But there are candles. Thats right, we have to go find candles. 12 of them. Why? We have no idea, but it sounds just so much less scary than clowns. Its raining right now, which should hopefully clear up the lovely pollution in the air. Michael and I hope to see blue sky before we leave Beijing, but thats about as likely as finding a unicorn in our bathrooms. Hope everything is going well at home. 

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

Chandler and Michael

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Hi everyone, all the students (minus Emily who will join us in Kunming) have come together from all corners of the world safely. We are resting well and looking forward to the trip to the wall tomorrow.

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Safe Arrival

I-Team,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Hi everyone, all the students (minus Emily who will join us in Kunming) have come together from all corners of the world safely. We are resting well and looking forward to the trip to the wall tomorrow.

Posted On

06/30/10

Author

I-Team

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Hey Guys,

I'm going to be researching the Great Wall, just so everyone knows. See everyone in 3 days.

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Research Topic

William Melhado,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Hey Guys, I’m going to be researching the Great Wall, just so everyone knows. See everyone in 3 days.

Posted On

06/25/10

Author

William Melhado

WP_Post Object
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Money in China:
Cards, Cash, and Travelers Checks are all functional ways to get money while in China. There is some information below about which ones we find to work best, but all forms are acceptable. Most everything is covered under the program's budget, so this money will be for personal expenditures i.e. cell phones, minutes on your phone, snacks, gifts, and other personal purchases.

Cards:
In my experience, the safest and most convenient way to access money in China is through a Bank of America debit or atm card. If you have a B of A debit account you can pull money out of any China Construction Bank ATM with no exchange fees, atms fees, or fines. China Construction Bank is one of the three largest banks on the mainland, and they have many locations in Kunming and Beijing. If you are using a non-B of A account, ask your bank about their fee and exchange policy. Either way, there are many 24hr atms, and it is the most reliable way to get cash in China.

Cash:
Exchange fees do apply, usually between 5 and 10 percent. You will need your passport to exchange cash, but on the whole it is much more convenient than travelers checks.

Travelers Checks:
It is a secure way to hold on to your money, but by far the most difficult to use. You need your passport and only Bank of China head branches will exchange your checks. There are only a couple banks in Kunming that will except travelers checks.


Cell Phones:
On most courses phones are not allowed, however for the internship program they have proved to be very useful and you can have one on the course. Communication with your homestay family, work, language teacher and instructors will all be improved through having a cell phone. In the end it your choice to purchase a phone. Phones can easily be found in Kunming, and you can get a basic new Nokia for around $80USD with a sim card and starting minutes. Used phones can be found for closer to $40USD.

Please post any further questions to the Yak Board. See you soon.

The I-Team
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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Money and Phones

I-Team,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

Description

Money in China: Cards, Cash, and Travelers Checks are all functional ways to get money while in China. There is some information below about which ones we find to work best, but all forms are acceptable. Most everything is covered under the program’s budget, so this money will be for personal expenditures i.e. cell phones, […]

Posted On

06/24/10

Author

I-Team

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Hi my name is Valerie, I currently live in Dubai UAE, and i attend Dubai American Academy as a Junior. I am French Canadian from Montreal, but i've lived my entire life betweeen Hong Kong (where i leared mandarin) and Dubai.

I can speak French, but i have an amaerican accent, and i do speak with my family, but i'm also learning Arabic at school, which is part of the courses I take as one of my six IB subjects. As you will soon realize, Denisa, another student attending this program, goes to my school, and we've been best friends since 8th grade.

I love track and Field, i've been part of the school team since my freshman year and I've travelled to Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Cairo (Egypt) to compete in my events. I love to read, watch movies, do anything outdoor (trekking, canoeing, mountain climbing) hanging out with my friends, going to party's and other social events.

I'm so excited to meet you all and to have a life changing experience.

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China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Valerie Intro

Valerie Lamoureux,China: Internship Program, Summer 2010

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Hi my name is Valerie, I currently live in Dubai UAE, and i attend Dubai American Academy as a Junior. I am French Canadian from Montreal, but i’ve lived my entire life betweeen Hong Kong (where i leared mandarin) and Dubai. I can speak French, but i have an amaerican accent, and i do speak […]

Posted On

06/24/10

Author

Valerie Lamoureux

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