I never thought in a million years I would be in China. The country is beautiful and full of opportunities. My impression of China did not fit my expectations, and I mean this in the best of ways.

While in China, I have visited so many attractions. I have gone to the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Pearl Market, and the Great Wall. Out of all these sites, the Great Wall was by far the best. A group of UF students and I hiked for 50 minutes to a section of the wall through a steep mountain. After reaching the Great Wall, we set up our tents on top of the wall and began a hike to the nearest tower. The energy I got when I reached the top of the tower was indescribable; pictures do not do the Great Wall of China justice. Hiking the Great Wall is something everything has to do once in their life.

China and America are very similar and different in many ways. For example, students have to take the Gaokao to get accepted by a university in China. Depending on how well a student scores on the Gaokao they will be assigned to a specific selection of majors and universities, chosen by the Chinese government. For the American students, the Gaokao is similar to the SAT or ACT. Both tests measure soon-to-be high school graduates on their academic performance. The main difference between the Gaokao and the SAT or ACT is the Chinese government uses the Gaokao test score to determine where and what a student can study; on the other hand, the SAT or ACT gives students a score so that solicited universities can evaluate the student. Overall both concepts of examination are similar, but they are still very different in their own ways.

Overall, China is great and I believe China is underrated as a tourist destination. The country has been through a period of humiliation, but is now bouncing back and wants to be respected. For those who, like me at one point, did not think China is a place worth visiting, please give it another chance. Traveling to China is one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I cannot wait till I get to experience and learn more about aspects of China and its people.

Victoria Suarez

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