Name: Ryan McDonald
From: Boston, Massachusetts
Welcome to China!
Is this your first time in China?
How long have you been here and how long will you stay?
I've been here one week and I'm staying for two months.
What are you studying here?
Tai Chi - 24 Step Form and Chinese Language.
What do you think of Beijing?
I like it - a good city.
Have you met any Chinese people yet?
Yes - theyre very nice.
How is your Tai Chi class and the teacher?
Very good. My teacher is very good - her movements are clear and strong. She's very patient. The building is very good for training - it's comfortable, there's lots of space, it's easy to have a class there. Learning the posture is difficult thought because I'm a beginner! I'm more flexible because of Tai Chi - it's easier to walk and stand for long periods of time.
What's the basic class routine?
First we stretch a little bit, then run to warm up. Then we stretch more - stretching is emphasized a lot, as well as basic movements. Then we do kicking exercises like side-kicks, front-kicks and sweeps. We stretch on our own after that. Then we split up into different groups – the Sanshou group, the Wushu boxing group, and the Tai Chi group. From there we start with walking, foot-work, hand movements, and stretch in between. We repeat this for the rest of the class. Once all the groups had a game of soccer after we'd finished, which was fun. Sometimes I do extra training after class, to review techniques.
How is your language class and the teacher?
It's good - I have two teachers. One teacher is very good because she interacts well with students and makes it fun to learn. The other teacher is a bit shy and only teaches from the book.
What do you think of your accommodation?
It's like a hotel. I have a bed, a desk for studying, my own bathroom with hot water, and there's also a telephone and a reading lamp. On my floor there's a laundry machine and a hot water machine for noodles!
What do you think of Chinese food? And what is your favourite Chinese dish?
Hen hao! (Very good!) Two thumbs up. I love Chinese food. Laofu Cai (Tiger Dish) is good, also stuffed rice bread with vegetables is very nice.
What is your favourite thing about China?
Chinese culture, the Chinese people - I like the parks here. It's a peaceful culture.
Why did you choose SCIC Beijing's Program?
I researched on the internet, and it's a good website first of all. You offer a good program and you can combine different locations and different forms of study. You can design your own program.
Any tips for other travellers coming to China?
Keep an open mind and absorb everything! Relax when you're around – Chinese people are very curious and are interested in foreigners. Don't take any offense - it's very friendly! Also be clear when talking to taxi drivers - don't use a black cab or one where they say the machine is broken. At the end of each journey you should get a receipt, and if there are any problems then SCIC will sort it out. Also if you are studying Tai Chi try to learn some technical terms for basic techniques and the body before class - it will make your training easier and more accessible.
Will you come to China again?