CET is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012. The first CET group studied in Beijing in the summer of 1982 and over a quarter-century later, we headed south to Shanghai, launching a program there in 2008. Last month, CET alumni, staff, faculty, roommates and study abroad professionals came together at the M on the Bund bar/restaurant to celebrate 30 wonderful years, the vibrant and growing field of study abroad, and one of the world’s most dynamic cities: Shanghai. Executive Director, Mark Lenhart shared with guests how excited he was to be thirty years old, and introduce CET alumnus, Jamie Fleishman. Jamie studied abroad with CET in Beijing during the Spring 2010 and recently won first place in the CET alumni video/blog contest. Watch his first place alumni video here: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/05/11/happy-birthday-cet
In addition to showing his winning alumni video, Jamie also introduced The Stars of CET video, which features footage from the 30th Anniversary events held in Beijing this past June.
Check out The Stars of CET video here:
Here’s to 30 more years!
Click here to see more photos from the CET Shanghai event
Click below to read more about CET 30th Anniversary events, contests, photos and videos:
- 30th Anniversary Celebration in Washington DC: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/05/25/photos-from-the-cet-30th-anniversary-celebration-and-networking-event/
- 30th Anniversary Celebration in Beijing, China: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/07/13/photos-from-the-cet-30th-anniversary-celebration-and-networking-event-in-beijing-china/
- 30 Top Ten Lists for CET’s 30th Anniversary: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/30-top-ten-lists/
- Alumni Video/Blog Contest: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/alumni-blogvideo-contest/
- Alumni Photo Contest: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/alumni-photo-contest/
- I miss waking to the sound of the vendor’s cow bell: tingtingTONGtingtingTONG.
- I miss s getting up early for a steaming basket of baozi (or steamed buns) before class.
- I miss walking by the silent Tai Chi students, following the certain movements of their teacher.
- I miss the clank of mah jiang pieces emanating from the sidewalks and parks.
- I miss the sour taste of yogurt bought from the small convenience store on the corner.
- I miss the seeing the old men walking down busy arterials in their pajamas and slippers.
- I miss the burn in my thighs after sprinting up six flights of stairs to the classrooms just in time for the bell.
- I miss watching green tea leaves expand and float in my glass every morning.
- I miss being able to talk about my intestinal problems like it was the weather or the game last night.
- I miss the feeling of relief when my fingers remember the strokes of a character I thought I had forgotten.
- I miss the unspoken sympathy felt crossing people in the halls after a long day of tests.
- I miss our teacher’s outfits, so well put together no matter how long their day must have been.
- I miss giving a coin to the white-haired old man playing the erhu outside our dorm with his equally white haired little dog perched on his knee.
- I miss saying “I’m back,” to my roommate every time I return to our room.
- I miss the smiles of the hotel’s cleaning staff even on the dreariest of days.
- I miss watching badminton and ping pong on CCTV5, some of the most intense competition I’ve ever seen.
- I miss the empowerment of completing a transaction at a restaurant or market.
- I miss the feeling of chopsticks in my fingers when I have an empty stomach.
- I miss the diluted taste of cheap Chinese beer.
- I miss buying yellow bananas from Mister Lee at the market on an after-dinner stroll.
- I miss the spicy waft of Huizu Kebab sizzling on the sidewalk.
- I miss the impossibly hip twenty-something’s strutting down “Foreigner’s Street.”
- I miss the feeling of satisfaction looking at the brown, muddy water in my basin after washing my clothes with my bare hands.
- I miss taking a shower before bed, washing off the stress and exhaustion of the day.
- I miss the grogginess of a sleep stopped too soon.
- I miss sitting up with the vague feeling of readiness for another day in China.
Once upon a time, in 1979, there was a little program named China Educational Tours. It offered cultural trips to China for non-profit organizations, but it did not include any kind of academic credit for those who participated. In 1982 it extended its scope by teaming up with Wellesley College, and the tour included a language program to American students. Within 10 years, there were nearly 100 students participating each semester. In 1994, this growth resulted in the creation of the CET Academic Programs. Today, CET Academic Programs offers study abroad opportunities to American students in China, the Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Tunisia, and Vietnam!
In honor of the 30 year anniversary of CET, I compiled a “Top 10″ ranking of my activities/experiences in Italy. This could possibly be more difficult than the 6 page paper and 10 minute presentation I just finished! But, here’s my attempt:
- Venice/Murano – Venice is definitely not like anywhere else in Italy, but it has never been my favorite place because its so touristy. I enjoyed Murano and our exclusive look into the museum exhibit!
- Caribia Frappes – Caribia is our favorite gelatoplace, right off of the Campo. When we discovered that their frappes are to die for delicious, it was a regular meeting point after a long 7 hour class day.
- Our American 4th of July – The night our group all got together to celebrate that wonderful day of American Independence was definitely one of my favorite nights. We were all together, and even though we loved the culture and the country we were surrounded by, it was nice to remember where we come from and the things we love and miss about it.
- Capri & the Blue Grotto – I’ve always been a sucker for beautiful beaches, but the beauty of the Blue Grotto literally took by breath away. Then to lay out and swim on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world was not too shabby either.
- Rome – Rome was my favorite city I visited with my parents, and it does seem true that all roads lead to Roma. The history is just so rich, monuments so ancient, there’s a certain romance that even the medieval city of Siena is too new to have. Even getting lost in the streets of Rome was enjoyable!
- Cinque Terre – This was our first weekend excursion, and I loved every minute! The hike on La Via dell’Amore was beautiful and the weather was perfect for us. I had never been to a ‘beach’ that was only rocks, and I love pesto, so it was my kind of place!
- PG & our Sienese Art & Architecture class adventures – We’ve slowly discovered our SAA professor may be world-famous. Or definitely Italy famous, at least. He is just the most intelligent man, and he is hilarious. From the ‘spicy’ frescos he showed us, to all the ‘bullshit gossip’ time we had about the painters or the stories behind the art, it was a great time. I’ve never taken an Art History class before, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to again because it just won’t match up.
- Seeing Roberto Benigni live – After studying Benigni last semester, seeing him live had all the more excitement and significance! He was absolutely incredible, and I definitely want to see him again and continue to study his works.
- Renting a Tuscan Villa – The most relaxing weekend we had was in the Chianti Region of Tuscany. I don’t think we’ll ever know how we got that to work out, but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. We spent the whole weekend by the pool in awe of how awesome our lives were.
- The Palio weekend – That was the weekend I saw the real Siena. I watched the city transform like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The Palio is life, the Palio is war, but even more so than that, the Palio is a time where Cantrade, families, friends, come together and unite to remember not only their personal histories, but the history of their home.
There are two things that just can’t be put on the top 10 because they are too important to me: Seeing my friends from Clarke County in Italy and my experience in my home stay with Sylvia. I am so grateful for the friendships I have had for all these years, and I will never forget how I met up with two of the coolest girls in the world in Italia! I also don’t have enough good things to say about Sylvia and my home-stay experience. I really believe my Italian improved so much because I was always speaking it at home, and I am grateful that Sylvia creates an atmosphere that is homey enough to not be worried about making mistakes and how she is always willing to answer my “Come si dice (insert word in Italian)?” or telling me about the little cultural nuances and history of Siena that only a native Sienese would know. I will miss the dinners she cooked and the discussions we had around the table, as well as our fusion of cultures on the nights Molly and I made food. Sylvia gave me a home here in Italy, and I will always be in her debt because of it!
So, in 2 months, I completed 3 classes and 9 credit hours, had many adventures, conversed in a new language, and made memories I’ll never forget! Now to go out with the group and celebrate!
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
Thank you for inviting me to your birthday party! I had a wonderful, sentimental, and inspiring time. The party started Friday evening at Capital M. With the Qianmen gate twinkling in the windows, CET alumni from all three decades caught up, reminisced, and delighted at the sight of classmates they hadn’t seen in years. Our first student, Ken Hammond, spoke about CET in 1982 and how much has changed since then. CCTV anchorwoman Tian Wei shared stories of being a CET roommate in the 1990s.
Festivities continued the next morning as Mark Lenhart led the group to the original CET campus at Baiduizi. Participants strolled along the dusty grounds, some of which have been completely transformed over the years and some of which remain remarkably the same. Mark brought the campus to life, relating how it had been a burial ground for commoners in the Qing Dynasty. When he was a student, construction crews sometimes found bones in the soil; he once saw children playing soccer with a human skull! Ken and Elvira Hammond spoke fondly of morning calisthenics in the courtyard and their very own wedding in the cafeteria.
Saturday afternoon took us back to Capital M for a nostalgic panel discussion of life at CET Beijing in the 1980s and 90s. Ken and Elvira Hammond, professors at New Mexico State University and our first students, told of roads blocked to foreigners and a punchy chef called “Cookie.” Surprise celebrity guests Evan Osnos (New Yorker, Boston Globe, Colbert Report) and Jonathan Ansfield (New York Times) spoke of why they chose China (in Osnos’ case, over Scotland) and how their experiences with CET in the 1990s shaped their journalism careers. Moderator David Moser confessed, lest we get too romantic about the past, that at least on one occasion being in China during those early years landed him in a pit of pig feces.
From Capital M it was off to the Jinlongtan Hotel for a special meeting and banquet in honor of our Chinese partners and original teachers and staff. ATA’s leadership, including Vice President Chase Poffenberger, Vice President Mark Lenhart, Senior Asia Program Manager Adam Jones, and President Kate Simpson, delivered thank-you speeches in Chinese! At the banquet, deans from our host universities in Beijing, Harbin, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Kunming spoke and presented gifts to CET. When Kate Simpson made a toast, the room rose to its feet and guests spent the rest of the evening mingling, laughing, and reflecting on the ways that thirty years of study abroad in China has touched peoples’ lives, especially those in that very room. Happy birthday, CET. Here’s to thirty more years!
CET Hangzhou Summer Immersion 2006
CET China Programs Manager 2010 to present
Visit CET’s Facebook page to view more photos from the 30th Anniversary Event in Beijing.