Reshaping my World

Adriana Echols
Major: Geography
Beijing & Lanzhou, China
GEOG 5450: Overseas Study on China’s Water Resources Management (Faculty-Led), Summer II 2018

The vision of reshaping the world around us and preserving this magnificent world for future generations inspires and encourages me to learn as much as I can about the earth. Studying in China gave me the opportunity to further my academic study in a foreign country and absorb alternative view on urban and cultural geography, that’s necessary to correspond to recurring issues such as globalization, urbanization and water management. By learning how Chinese researchers, managers, and farmers habituate and respond to climate and environmental changes to make sustainable uses of water resources for both agricultural production and ecosystem protection.

Before I came to Beijing, I literally thought the city was always cloaked in the dullness of grey pollution. It is true, Beijing does have as well as the rest of China a serious pollution problem caused by their extreme usage of coal in factories and the country’s low environmental standards, but no one ever talks about how on a good day the city’s sky can be just as amazing as Michigan summer’s days.

Echols 2.0
Image: Adriana at the Great Wall of China

Over the course of two weeks not only was I exposed to so much diverse culture, but I also had the opportunity to climb the Great Wall. Not in a million year would I have pictured myself walking on the largest wall in the world. Which was built over a span of 2000 years starting from the 3rd century BC in order to protect the northern border of the country from invaders. Tour the Summer Palace which is said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in China. Explore, probably one of the most well-known places in Beijing, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City that once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Then stand in the center of Beijing Olympic Park where in 2008 the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympics took place. All thanks to Professor He and the study abroad office.

Attending this trip helped me study the Environmental issues, theory and sustainability learning that impacting the environment and how negative impacts can be better managed for improved conservation. Guiding me to fulfill my desire to specialize within my concentration in Environmental Analysis and Resource Management at Western Michigan University, providing me with a deeper understanding, a new mindset to advance my skills, and promote a sustainable environmentally friendly.

Image: The study abroad group

This trip was amazing and taught me so much about how experiential learning can have a positive effect on your studies throughout college. Having the opportunity to visit so many places and gain lifelong friendships in another country is an experience you could only dream of and it came true. Not only was I exposed to great people, but my stomach also got the taste of authentic Chinese food eating many different food that I never imaging tasting. However, our schedule was pretty tight and didn’t really allow us to spend as much time as I hoped touring places throughout china. Maybe next year we incorporate more time and visits, giving more students time to venture off and enjoy all the scenery. The myth of air pollution is true, though I was warmed and advised to bring as much medication as needed, I still managed to take a hospital trip. When traveling abroad you never know how your body may react to the climate change, I would advise taking anything you think you may not need. Overall, everyone should travel to China, it’s nothing like how the media portray it.

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