Welcome to WOU’s Photoblog for Students Abroad!


I’m pleased to introduce you to WOU’s photoblog for students who are studying or interning abroad.  I  invite you to follow our students on their journeys from pre-departure preparation through the return home.

Photoblogging is a wonderful way for students to share what they are learning, observing, and discovering in their new environments.  Enjoy the journey with them!

WOU’s photoblog is modeled on the Australian “Bringing the Learning Home” project developed by Jan Gothard, Greg Downey, Tonia Gray, and Linda Butcher, and with their permission, utilizes some of the materials from that project.  http://ozstudentsabroad.com/

Week 3 in China

Week 3 in China and we have officially left Xiangtan.  After almost 2 weeks in the same town it feels nice to have a change.  Our first town we visited is Zhangjiajie which I had been looking forward to for a while.  We got to visit so many mountains I can’t pronounce the name of and saw so many sites in china that were just beyond gorgeous.  We got to hike the mountain where avatar was filmed, as well as go to Tianmen mountain where there’s a cable cart to get to the top of the mountain, a glass bridge on the side of the cliff to walk, a suspension bridge between cliffs, and escalators built INSIDE the mountain.  This mountain was insane and absolutely beautiful I need to come back.  Before leaving Xiangtan we had one last lesson and it was on Chinese diet.  I loved this lesson cause it was very interesting to see where their diet views come from.  I learned they base their diet off seasons and the 5 elements (fire, earth, water, metals, wood).  Each element has its own specific color coordinated with it, and is assigned to a specific season.  The color coordinated with the element represents the type of food you should be eating that season.  So if the color is yellow, you want to be eating yellow foods like a banana.  Each season also focuses on a specific organ or part of your body that is being treated during this time of the year.  I wanted to learn more in depth about this because there is just so much to know, so I’m hoping to get a book on Chinese diet and Chinese history to learn more about it, As well as possibly coordinate their diet into my life.  I was very amazed by their diet, I agree with it so much and I love that when they talk about food its not about what taste good (even though it taste amazing), but is about what IS good for your body and organ system.



Week 2 in China

Week 2 in China has been amazing.  Adjusting to the culture differences was hard at first, but I really feel like I’m adapting well here.  I’m loving the food here and am adapting to the amount of spice they put in everything! This week we got a few new members added to our group who are from the UK and they are already tons of fun.  This week we had lessons on the Chinese language.  We were taught some basic vocabulary that’s useful when beginning learning Chinese and taught how to pronounce their alphabet.  I give props to anyone who learns Chinese as a second language.  It is very difficult and their whole language is based off 4 basic tones which makes it difficult to learn how to pronounce things properly.  Last week we studied  Chinese massage.  Had massage done on us, then we were taught the techniques and practiced them on our partners.  This week has been more focused on acupuncture.  We studied meridian channels and got the opportunity to practice acupuncture on ourselves.  I loved how hands on our training was.  Lastly to finish off the week we got to visit an herbal garden, and be taught the properties and benefits there are to each plant.




Since I came a few days early with my grandparents, my initial post is occurring from within Italy after my arrival and recovery from the extreme jet lag. I do have a few pictures from the ride to the airport I will attach as well. My initial thoughts before arriving were that this place seemed almost imaginary. People were constantly telling me how wonderful it was and how it was a great experience and that I would have a wonderful time, but all I had seen of Italy was out of a book or movie. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, all I could picture were these fairytale images! I expected the language barrier to be difficult, since I do not yet speak Italian, and was told the people were friendly and welcoming but that they, and the city did not always smell the best. These were my first thoughts heading into this adventure. Orientation is tomorrow and I will follow up afterwards about my reaction to actual Italian life as well as how my orientation went!




Day 32

We are headed home.. I am so sad to be leaving. I feel like I learned a ton on this trip and am so happy I went. I feel like China could be my home one day. Everyone we met was extremely nice, and even with all the differences in culture this country is still amazing. I would love to come back in 10 years and see the differences and improvements they make. Hopefully I can do that. I will definitely miss all of the friends I made while abroad.

7-Beijing (65)

Thank you Dr. Flatt and Mariano for the wonderful photos of days that I didn’t have any!

Day 31

Today was a free day, some people went to the zoo or you could go shopping. I’m just going to talk about Hadeels presentation on traditional Chinese herbal medicine. She is against using the medicine if the ingredients are not layed out to the patients. She personally took a remedy that made her more sick than beforehand, she ended up in the hospital. I think this is a great reason that Chinese medicine should be more controlled. Although the government is trying to implement a ore controlled practice, in “small” cities such as xiangtan the practice of medicine can be done by anyone. You don’t need even a certificate. This is scary because you could get a doctor who truly knows there stuff or you could end up with someone who doesn’t know their knee from their elbow. Dr. Li actually has no qualifications which make him a doctor, he is just extremely good at his job. So basically at this point everything is on word of mouth. I think integrating western and Chinese medicine can lead to problems such as Hadeel’s not happening again.

7-Beijing (59)

Day 30

The class went to the Great Wall but again I was sick so I stayed in bed. This piece of history is legendary. It was built to protect the Chinese empire from Mongolian invaders, obviously it wasn’t perfect. But the fact that just humans with no machines built this giant symbol of strength is legendary.

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Day 28

Arriving in Beijing and getting to the hotel made this trip for me. We saw the forbidden city today. It was extremely crowded, so I never felt that it was very awesome. But the fact that the emperor had a whole “level” just for his wives, which he had tons of, is crazy. They had their own lives separate from him. It’s just weird when compared to how people live nowadays.

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Day 27

We visited the tai chi village today, which is in the middle of nowhere! You drive and drive and come across this small village and then enter these gates. It almost looks like one of the temples but the. You go through another gate and bam! It’s this giant open area with gardens and statues and giant buildings. I loved it! There is a whole museum on the history of Chen style tai chi. The guy who made it is very famous, at least in this circle. Every book on tai chi and movie is talked about or mentioned. Even the people who started the style are photographed as far back as possible. It’s really a wonderful place.

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6-Tai Chi Village (5)

Day 26

I’m not sure how to spell the new city we traveled to in a bullet train, but it’s not too important. My main cool fact is traveling on the bullet train. Which China is well known for how long the track is and how fast it can go. Which is upwards of 200 miles per hour. This is really cool to travel on such a famous and important train in our history.

5-Chen Zhenglai (3)