Photos by Rebekah Vecchiarelli (University of Rhode Island), Student Correspondent CET Harbin Summer 2019 A big part of CET is cultural exchange. While most of the time it is us American students learning about Chinese culture, sometimes it is the other way around. I spend a lot of time with my roommate talking about differences between Chinese and American culture in everything from salaries to snacks. This week we also spent an evening in the dorm’s kitchen making sandwiches and French toast! In our one on two class last week, we talked about china’s aging population and the life and challenges that senior citizens in china face. We got the opportunity to sit down with senior citizens that work at or live around the school and interview them. It was very interesting to get to discuss topics that we had been learning about in class and get to see them from a new perspective. My favorite part of studying abroad is trying new things. Last weekend for our weekend outing, we headed across the city to a giant mall to go to a curling park None of us had ever been before so it was a brand-new experience for everyone, and we all had an amazing time. We got to learn the basics of the sport and even had a mini tournament. I had never really thought about trying curling before but now that I have, I would love to do it again! This is the Flood Control Monument in Stalin Park. It was built in 1958 to commemorate the defeat of the flooding that took thousands of lives in Harbin when the Song Hua River continued to overflow. The monument is found at one end of the Harbin Central Street and was especially stunning at night all lit up, and the whole park is full of performers and even karaoke stations along the river. Another interesting site at Stalin park is the Tie Lu Bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Song Hua River. When it was originally built, it was a railroad bridge that was part of a project to connect the four main areas of Harbin. Now the bridge is a preserved cultural site, and even though it was converted into a pedestrian bridge, some of the original railway is still there and can be seen through glass panels as you walk across the bridge This weekend we visited Wen Miao, which is Harbin’s Confucius temple. The temple is a beautiful site with a very tranquil atmosphere that is very different from the rest of the city. Wen Miao was built between 1926 and 1929 and is the largest in northeastern China. It is also partly a museum where you can learn about the minority cultures of China. We also visited Jile temple, Harbin’s Buddhist temple and one of the four biggest temples in the northeast. This temple was also full of many beautiful buildings, pagodas, and statues. After visiting the temple, we went to a nearby restaurant. This restaurant was very interesting because they served many dishes that were just like Harbin’s traditional food, but all vegetarian. It was all very delicious! HIT has many cafes around campus, but my absolute favorite is Benben Café. This café is conveniently located right behind our academic building and has many choices of coffees, teas, and smoothies. Benben has a very welcoming atmosphere and is a great place to stop in between classes or to sit and do homework while enjoying a nice cool drink! One of my main reasons for choosing CET was because of the opportunity to take a one on one course. For me, this seemed like an amazing opportunity because I would be able to work on improving my Chinese while studying a topic that interested me. Since my other major is mechanical engineering, I decided to spend the term studying renewable energy. I got to work with a professor from HIT and learn about China’s development of renewable energy and how they are being used to help solve environmental problems. This class was an amazing opportunity for me and overall really exceeded my expectations. Sadly, this is my last photo essay for the summer since we will be saying goodbye to CET Harbin next weekend. This trip has been a totally amazing experience. I have learned so much and met so many great people. I want to thank my classmates, friends, teachers, and all the CET staff for sharing this experience with me, it was truly unforgettable.