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How Chinese hospitality made our residency

December 12, 2014
Anthony Grieco
MAIIC field trip

For many of us on our MA in Intercultural in International Communication overseas residency in Hangzhou, the theme of 'hospitality' was evident throughout our stay. Our buddies certainly showed this on many occasions--a willingness to help us with so many of our day-to-day challenges in navigating a new city and culture. But this was also manifested through random acts of kindness by strangers - people we would meet in the city when trying to find the subway or an important city landmark, people we would encounter in restaurants that would assist us in ordering food, people we would meet at West Lake that would converse openly with us about where we were from, and of course the many wonderful people we met during the ICE exhibition that expressed such wonderful sentiments about the various exhibit topics on display that day. And so the concept of Chinese hospitality was a theme discussed by our learners throughout our visit.

The home visits gave us a wonderful avenue into the domestic lives of buddies and faculty members, and for many it was one of the highlights of the trip. Many of our learners described how wonderful it was to have an opportunity to see a typical, close-knit Chinese family, and were delighted by domestic kitchen rituals like making dumplings.

Perhaps this theme of hospitality was most evident during our final time together at the closing banquet, when RRU learners and buddies expressed their final thoughts and tearful goodbyes. It was clear on that evening that many profound friendships had begun in Hangzhou, and that these friendships would last many years - perhaps even a lifetime.