You do not have Flash Player installed. Please visit

day one

Monday June 23, 2014

Ni Hao! This is Torrie and Zalana blogging for the Chicago Urban League’s 2014 Student Mission Trip to China for the very first time! Today was full of exciting and eventful activities. It’s 7:00am, WAKE UP! WAKE UP! After alarm clocks have been silenced and the student ambassadors have gotten ready, we made our way down to an interesting variety of “breakfast foods” from bacon to fried rice and even French fries it was an overall interesting switch from the typical American meal.

Leaving the hotel, we all made our way to one of the Beijing Language and Culture University buildings to officially kick off this trip with an Opening Ceremony. We not only met a few of the sponsors but we were also enlightened about a few aspects of our experience. We will engage in multiple lectures about the Chinese language, relations, political systems and culture. We wrapped up the ceremony with a quick group shot.

Next, we proceeded to the Beijing Opera lecture where we learned about one of the many ways Chinese culture is expressed, through operas. We engaged through song, dance and our favorite, painting different masks! This was only a taste of what was in store. After this exciting activity we experienced our first lecture on Sino-US Relations from 1784 to 2014. We touched on 5 main topics including: the 1st Contact of the US and China, the Open Door Policy, the Way to Allies, Who Lost China and Ice Broken. Although this may sound sort of boring, it actually turned out to be very interesting and enlightening, *Lecture fingers crossed* that every lecture is like this one!

After the lecture we proceeded to lunch, that for the most part was agreed to be the best meal thus far. Although we were busy filling our stomachs, we were low-key anticipating the GREAT WALL! As time approached for one of the most important tasks of our lives everyone had an hour to get “head-band, t-shirt and gym shoed up” to ensure the best chance of success. When we finally arrived at the Great Wall, we were immediately approached by various vendors looking to sell everyone their merchandise. It was sort of a bewildering experience because they would present you with a ridiculous price offer but essentially the customer was able to talk down the price.

Finally, we all began the Great Wall with a quick group picture and immediately got to work. 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd…..most people began to drop off like flies, but I, Torrie Briggs managed to make it to the 7th floor alongside Patricia, Jermaine, Kameron, Mr. and Mrs. Zopp and a few of our tour guides. On the way back down, we were allowed the opportunity to experience shopping in China for the first time. To wrap up our day, we gathered to have dinner at the Peking Roast Duck Restaurant, which happened to be voted unanimously the worst meal experience thus far. Sorry we tried to be honest, well until next blog, Zaijian!

~Zalana Allen and Torrie Briggs