Locals at coffee shop explore China’s culture

By Laila Longer in Arts & Entertainment

September 29, 2011

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Laila Longer/Eagle Eye

Close your eyes. What do you think of when someone talks about China? Fireworks? Mulan?

There is much more to China that what we see in the movies, or watch on television. It is an entirely different world than what we experience here in the United States.

Fortunately, here at Lock Haven University, diversity is extremely important.

On behalf of the Institute for International Studies here at LHU, the local coffee house, Avenue 209, allows international students the opportunity to share their culture and experiences to broaden the horizons of LHU students and the local citizenry alike.

Before the presentation began, anyone present had the opportunity to make Chinese paper lanterns with small pieces of tissue paper and blown up balloons.

Refreshments were provided, and included traditional Chinese green tea, fortune cookies, and moon cakes, which are traditional sweets eaten each year around the time of the moon festival in mid-Autumn.

The presentation itself was given by Stephanie O’Donnell of AmeriCorps and Qiang Tan, and English major studying at LHU from Changsha University of Science and Technology in Changsha, China.

From this, one could learn much more about China than the average American knows. For example, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations, yet it has no official religion established.

However, Christianity, Islam, and Daoism are all practiced. The nation’s literacy rate is extremely high at 92.2 percent.

On the other hand, the Chinese government is divided into three parties: the Communist Party of China, which the current president Hu Jintao is affiliated; the Central People’s government, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are the other two.

China’s official currency is actually Renminbi, though the Yuan is still used as well.

Further, China’s economy is based mostly around industry; the country is a leading exporter of coal and iron ore.

Mining, the manufacturing of clothes, electronics, toys, and shoes are other major industries in China.

However, agriculture is also important to the economy, and rice, wheat and potatoes are just a few of the crops grown there.

Last but certainly not least are the tourists sites that China has to offer.

The Forbidden City is the most popular, and stands at Beijing’s center. It was a private home for Emperor YongLe, and is now one of the world’s most important pieces of architecture; its layout is nearly symmetrical.

Another popular architectural icon in China is the Great Wall, standing for nearly 1700 years at anywhere from 15-30 feet high and 5500 miles in length.

“I’ve been to the Great Wall only once because it is so far from my hometown,” said Qiang.

This country is also the home of the Terracotta Army, thousands of carvings of clay warriors to protect the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, who was emperor of the state of Qin during the Chinese warring states period. It was discovered in 1974 by a man digging a well.

Hence, China has much to offer scenically and academically, but the international students from Changsha University enjoy America as well.

“I like shopping in America. It’s cheaper than China,”   said Yuqi, another exchange student from China. America also has other advantages, like, “the population. In China we have 3 billion people! Here there is so much space,” Qiang said.

So, if you are interested in meeting many new people and would enjoy the delights of an ancient culture, then studying abroad in China promises to be an enchanting experience.

Presentations such as this is a perfect way to get to know a place and its people, free of charge, before studying abroad. Be sure to keep an eye out for events like this in the future! There are many more countries to explore!

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