One of the most vibrant cities I visited while participating in the International Scholar Laureate Program in China was the ancient city of Xi’an. Xi’an is best described as a relatively small metropolis, mixed with diverse architecture of both modern and ancient styles. The culture of Xi’an is also a bit more diverse than other places in China and one of its highlights include the Muslim Quarter, where many of China’s minority Muslim population lives.
While in Xi’an, our delegation was able to visit one of the most intriguing and coveted historical sites in the world, the excavation site of the terra cotta army. The army of 8000 extremely detailed clay warriors was undiscovered until 1974, when farmers digging a well stumbled upon the vast site of buried statues in the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The army itself consisted of various types of troops and devices which were designed to serve as the protectors of the emperor in the afterlife. There were archers, warriors, generals, horses and even highly complex chariots which were all buried and remained intact in excess of 2 millenniums. The highly detailed sculptures illustrated the greatness of human beings and how intricate and complex humans were, despite the limited technology available to them during that age.
We also had the opportunity to visit a rural village in the Chinese countryside. First we visited a farming community and then an art studio, where we participated in traditional Chinese dances and festivities and watched a master artist paint in the traditional method on rice paper. Later on, we visited a rural primary school where we were introduced to the students and were asked to assist the children in their English lessons. We were welcomed by large smiles and curious eyes as many of the children seemed elated to have foreigners visiting their school.
Following our visit to the primary school we then carried on to the Xi’an international studies university. We were able to network and communicate with various students who also studied international relations and international business. The dialogue gave us a different perspective on our field of study based on the interpretations of other students.
Our visit in Xi’an concluded with a lesson in Tai Chi atop the ancient city wall which surrounds the main part of the city. Our instructor was a practitioner of the art for over 50 years and he was able to simplify the movements and finer details for us. The city of Xi’an was definitely an interesting and vibrant place. We left many new friends behind but brought our experiences with us. As we left for Shanghai it seemed as though we could’ve stayed a bit longer, but the thought of adventures ahead propelled us onward leaving the city behind, but taking our memories with us.
By Javaughn Waller