Greetings from Beijing, China

By Emlyn Lee, Founder

Ni hao! Greetings from Beijing, China! I have been here for exactly one week, and FINALLY feel like my brain and body are working on the right time zone. I attended a 4 days conference for the youth travel industry, and will spend the next two weeks visiting our site projects for our Teach, Intern, and Volunteer in China programs, and work on some new business development. I’ll definitely share more details and insight of my experiences here, and how I hope this visit will improve our programs and services to this fascinating destination.

I am giving the ‘touristy’ things to do in Beijing amiss, as I have been to Beijing numerous times, either as a tourist, or having lead group tours. So now, I get the pleasure to sit back and embrace the local culture. Ironically, I am sitting in a Starbucks, in the HouHai district, which is in the heart of Beijing’s Lake District. I know, Starbucks isn’t really a ‘local’ thing, and in fact, I avoid the green and white chains back in the States, but not only is this one of the only places that offers free wi-fi, but it’s everywhere in Beijing, and dominated by Chinese and foreign people alike. In fact, I’m sitting next to three local young Chinese girls, sitting around their netbook watching videos, giggling, bopping their heads, and singing along to Eminem and Rhianna. At a table across from them, there are three young Westerners peering over each other’s shoulders, looking at a Mac screen with earphones on. Do you think they could be listening to the same thing? Who knows, but for me, at this moment, this coffee shop is a true representation of how we continue to Discover the Similarities and Share the Differences. Whether through food, coffee, music, people and ways to spend a lazy, chilly, Saturday afternoon…that’s no lie.

Discover the Similarities… Share the Differences,
Founder of Cultural Embrace

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