At the end of spring 2016, some design students from Texas A&M University-Commerce Department of Art along with their teachers took a trip to China for 10 days. Our students were hosted by several Chinese professors and students at the Tianjin University of Technology (TUT) for the duration of their stay. Assistant Professor of Art at A&M-Commerce, Virgil Scott led the trip and delivered a lecture on “Design and the Creative Process” at TUT’s School of Art.
The students had an interesting experience in China touring TUT, learning about the Chinese culture and visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing, a massive palace filled with amazing architecture. There, they saw large cauldrons used to boil people and learned that this was one of the cruelest punishments in the history of China. “The fact that we were able to go around and touch these parts of history was truly amazing and humbling,” remarked one of the students.
In spite of the language barrier for which hand gestures, pictures and the Microsoft translator app came in handy, our students immersed themselves in the Chinese culture when they attended a traditional tea and incense ceremony, shopped at Culture Street for traditional Chinese painting and trinkets, visited a museum with works of famous Chinese artists as well as the Yellow River known as the Mother River of China, said to be the second longest in China and the sixth longest in the world.
You can be sure that our students and their teachers made it to the Great Wall of China and loved every moment spent there. They left the wall as “true men” according to the famous Chinese saying: “He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man.” Although some of the students needed to be on the lookout for coffee, culture learning is incomplete without the food of the said culture, so students dined at Dumpling House where over 300 flavors of dumpling are served.
Just before the students made their way back to the U.S., their art works and designs were displayed in the Chinese market. It was truly a life-changing experience for them. “This is the kind of trip that really kind of changes you as a person,” testified one student. Another said, “It’s weird how natural it is to be here…it feels like it’s right.” And so the adventure came to an end but the experience stays with each one for a lifetime.
“Zàijiàn Tianjin, we will miss you.”
To better appreciate this significant experience in the lives of our students, watch this video.