Study Abroad Takes B-CU Student To China


Last spring mass communications major Elise Gaskins set out on a student abroad trip that would take her to the other side of the world to China. Gaskins shared these memories with the Voice of her trip

The Chongyuan Temple in Suzhou is a popular tourist attraction in China.
The Chongyuan Temple in Suzhou is a popular tourist attraction in China.

China was amazing. It was really mind blowing for a person like me because I had never left my hometown and to be somewhere like this was amazing. I was very excited to visit different cities and common areas through the country. One of the most interesting parts of the trip was when my class went to the city of Shandong. It was a cultural class that was very entertaining. 

Otherwise, all of my classes were located in Suzhou, China and most of our activities starting out in Suzhou. The area is know as the "Venice of the East" and is one of the countries favorite tourist destinations. It is filled with many artistic beautiful gardens, romantic ancient water towns, thousand-year-old temples and top-rated museum. If you visit Suzhou, you got to go visit Times Square. It was amazing. I really loved it. I was tired of the stairs but it's worth the visit and plus you will never get hungry or thirsty because there are a lot of restaurants there. 

The location is nice and busy. It's a different atmosphere down there. You could even bring children there to play and paint. It's a place for any and every one. One of the buildings at Times Square that really caught my attention had unique architecture. It's huge and it really looks like pants. 

My favorite restaurant in Suzhou, China was Dumpling Place in Orange Plaza. I really liked the lunch and place. I had the chance to watch the people making my meal. It was interesting to see the ingredients they use for cooking in China. 

No visit to China would be complete with seeing statutes of Buddhas.
No visit to China would be complete with seeing statutes of Buddhas.

I happened upon Dumpling Place. I had stopped in front of this place that had pictures of dumplings and tables with chairs everywhere. I was happy that the cashier spoke English. You could see the cooks making the dumplings from scratch. It was a sort for sore eyes and I didn't even get a picture of it for some reason. 

I ordered the pork and vegetable dumpling. It cost 17 rmb (which equals $.1.82) for 12 dumplings. I was set. I also had some hot tea that was free. I love dumplings, but having them made for me while I watched took it to another level. It was a great lunch. I would recommend this restaurant for visitors to China. 

Meanwhile, I also loved the huge shopping markets. I didn't also spend money and yet it was still worthwhile to go. 

I would recommend the China experience for any student who is looking to explore more than just national traveling plus once you're there and seeing everything from your own eyes everything that was told to you went out your mind. 

Our class also visited a number of other cities including Shanghai, Shandong, Beijing and Nanjing. 

My experience in China was life changing and I would do it again if I could. I was not prepared on what to expect from my own reaction, but I it was a blessing

By Elise Gaskins

Q&A With Elise Gaskins 

B-CU student and Jacksonville resident Elise Gaskins visited China from Jan. 12 to April 24 of this year. Here's how she did it.

Q. Who arranged this trip?

A. Sean McCarthy, from the University of Dayton in Ohio and Sheryl Long-Grimes, director of B-CU's study abroad program. She says the breakdown included 10 students form Dayton, eight from China and one from B-CU.

Q. Did you receive academic credit? 


Q. Where did you leave from (airport) and how long did it take you to get there?

A. I caught a plane out of Jacksonville's airport to Chicago. I spent for two hours there before boarding the plane to Chicago and from there it was a 14-hour flight to China.

Q. Cost of the trip?

A. $29,000. (About two-thirds of which was covered by a scholarship from Diversity Abroad.)

Q. Why did you decide to go?

Graphic retrieved from on
Graphic retrieved from on

A. I decided to go because I wanted to experience traveling and being able to see the world.

Q. What did you like most about China?

A. I love watching Chinese chiefs cook and I like being new to a foreign country and learning their ways.

Q. What did you dislike?

A. Not being able to eat American food or finding the right seasoning.