Students on field study in China
A group of 14 students is taking part in the Field Studies in China
course taught by Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy and Dr. George Pomeroy of the
geography/earth science department.
They arrived at East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai on
June 12. During their 20-day stay, they will take part in Chinese language and
culture classes and participate in sightseeing excursions in various Chinese
cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xian, and Beijing. Twelve Chambersburg Area School District teachers are
on the trip and the group will also visit Shijiazhuang No. 25 High School, a
Dr. Amy Diehl, the university’s director of systems and applications,
and Vincent Rink, a junior Spanish major, will provide blog updates about the
Posted June 25
Written by Dr. Amy Diehl
After leaving Shanghai, we headed for the city of Xi’an. We entered the
city through gates in the city wall, which is six miles in circumference. Xi’an
is an ancient capital of China and the city wall is one of the oldest and best
preserved in China. Construction began in 194 BCE and lasted for four years. We
climbed the steps to the wall and then took a two-mile stroll on the top of it.
The view of the city from the top of the wall was amazing.
Ship students climb
steps to the Xi’an city wall
Top of Xi’an city
In Xi’an we visited the site of the Terracotta Army, a collection of
life-size terracotta sculptures including 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520
horses and 150 cavalry horses. These sculptures were discovered by chance in
the ground by a farmer digging a well in 1974. They were buried in 210-209 BCE
with Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, to protect the emperor in his
The number, size and detail on this sculptures was amazing — no two
soldier’s faces are alike. Excavation on the terracotta army still continues
today. When the sculptures are dug up, they have vibrant color. However,
exposure to air quickly turns the colors to brown. In order to preserve the
color, archaeologists are leaving many sculptures buried until better
preservation methods are found.
We saw the hill under which Qin Shi Huang is buried. However, his tomb
has not been excavated because it is considered too dangerous to do so. It is
believed that the tomb took 38 years to construct with a workforce of 700,000
people. It is said that those workers were buried alive in the tomb in order to
protect the secrets of the tomb and the Terracotta army.
Terracotta army soldiers
Dr. Amy Diehl, Dr.
George Pomeroy, Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy, and Vincent Rink with Terracotta army
Written by Vincent Rink
reason I wanted to come to China was to see Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army.
Upon arrival I was the most excited out of the group. I could not wait to get
in to see this amazing discovery. Once at the gate we walked for 15 minutes to
a site with three massive buildings. To my surprise they all contained pits of ancient
warriors. We entered the building housing Pit One to find the most famous view
of the soldiers. The pits were filled with rows of the ancient fighters.
Terracotta soldiers in Pit One
walked around the army, our tour guide showed us a large piece of land that had
not been excavated yet. We found out that there are still hundreds upon thousands
that have not been unearthed. We were also taught that almost all the soldiers
had been broken from the weight of the ground above them.
archeologist have been working for decades to piece back these clay marvels.
Entering the building housing Pit Two we discovered the horses and higher
ranking warriors. Again there was so much more to be excavated which means the
vastness of the army is still growing.
Soldiers and horses in Pit Two
that surprised me was that each statue was once painted vibrantly, but due to
oxidation they lose their color within a week of being unearthed. In the
building housing Pit Three, we were shown some of the only intact statues
including the kneeling archer which was the only warrior to not have a single
chip in him.
Intact kneeling terracotta archer
archaeologists also discovered the highest-ranking general who was given orders
only by the emperor himself.
Highest ranking terracotta general
visited all three buildings we were taken to a museum to meet the farmer who
discovered the vast treasure. (Yes, he is still alive at the age of 72.) He was
digging a well and found a head of a soldier. It was simply amazing.
Posted June 24
Written by Dr. Amy Diehl
On our last night in Shanghai, our hosts treated us to a banquet at East
China Normal University (ECNU). In attendance from ECNU were Director Huang
Meixu, Deputy Director Wang Gang and Claire Zhang from the Foreign Student
Exchange Office of ECNU’s Global Education Center.
We were served delicious foods, including American-style green salad
with Thousand Island dressing, glazed dates, black mushroom with toro salad,
cold marinated pork, tofu skin salad, dumplings, Szechuan tofu, and orange
juice. My favorite were the glazed dates, which were very sweet.
Dr. Amy Diehl and Vincent Rink attend ECNU banquet
Claire Zhang (ECNU), Diana Stumbaugh, Alicia Lippert, and Eden Eliff attend ECNU
Wang Gang (ECNU) and Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy
Dr. George Pomeroy presented our hosts with Shippensburg University T-shirts
and coffee mugs.
Dr. George Pomeroy
presents Deputy Director Wang Gang (ECNU) with a Ship T-shirt
Meixu presents Dr. George Pomeroy with a traditional Chinese teapot
Zhang (ECNU) and her new Ship t-shirt
Ship and ECNU – the
A big thank you (xiè-xie) goes to ECNU staff for making our trip
possible and taking care of our every need during our stay. Director Huang and
Deputy Director Wang worked with Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy and Dr. George Pomeroy to
make the trip possible, while Claire spent almost the entire week with us, as
our group’s escort and guide. We could not ask for better hosts.
Posted June 23
Written by Dr. Amy
In addition to our
cultural excursions, we have had a fun time shopping in many local markets. Negotiating prices is
expected in China. Often there are no prices marked on the items, and the
vendors usually do not speak much English. However, they always have a
calculator that can be used by both parties to negotiate the price. When we
find items we like, we ask “how much?” The vendor responds and then we counter
back with a lower price.
This goes back and
forth until an agreeable price is determined. Our ECNU host Claire told us that
we should be paying about 30 percent of the asking price. We have not always
been able to negotiate down that low, but we have been able to get significant
savings off of the original asking price. We have learned that
to be a successful bargainer, one must be willing to walk away. Several times,
I have made a low counter offer, to which the vendor said no. I then said
no-thanks and walked away, only to have the vendor come after me and say “ok,
ok, ok!” to my offer. This doesn’t always work.
There have been
occasions when I gave a low-ball offer, to which vendor said no, and then I
walked away and expected the vendor to come after me and they have not. This
type of trial and error with negotiating helps me to determine what the market
prices truly are. We’ve all made lots of purchases and will be bringing back
lots of souvenirs for ourselves, family and friends.
Amy negotiating for a table runner in Shanghai
Vince negotiating in Shanghai
by Vincent Rink
together I have been to five Chinese market places and each were an experience.
So many things to see and buy, some were expected and others were not. Today we
went to a bird, fish, and insect market. This experience was like no other for
Ducklings in a box in the bird, fish
and insect market
are used for an Asian fighting cricket game in which individuals take bets over
which one will win.
Crickets for sale at the bird, fish
and insect market.
China, turtles symbolize longevity.
Often they are given as gifts to older people.
Turtles for sale at the bird, fish,
and insect market.
favorite place to shop was outside of Yuyuan Gardens where we saw the residence
of a few nobles of China’s past. The gardens were very extensive, spanning for
what seemed like a mile. China
has preserved and restored their past so well that you almost step into the
past when entering places such as this. Each home had a beautiful complexity to
it but at the same time was very simple in style. Each item in the rooms was
placed in a specific way that held a meaning in various manners. If I could go
back in time I think I would live here.
Vince in Yuyuan Gardens
Residence at Yuyuan Gardens
Bridge in Yuyuan Gardens
Interior of residence at Yuyuan Gardens with Concubine bed
on the right
One of five dragon walls at Yuyuan Gardens
Written by Dr. Amy Diehl
We have spent quite a bit of time in Shanghai traffic on our shuttle bus
to and from excursions. The congestion in Shanghai is similar that of Los
Angeles. Stop and go traffic on the many multilane highways.
There is one difference. In Shanghai, individuals must pay 72,000 RMB
(approx. $12,000) for a license plate, and the process to purchase the plate
takes about two months. The cost for license plates in other cities is less
about 3,000 RMB to 5,000 RMB ($500 to $800). However, those who purchase
license plates from other cities may not enter Shanghai during rush hour (7:30 a.m.
to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Congestion exists despite high costs
The vehicles here are comparable to American vehicles in size and kind.
There are lots of makes such as Volkwagen, Audi, Ford, Buick, Mercedes, Volvo,
Kia, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Honda — both sedans and small SUVs. Having a high-end
or luxury vehicle is a status symbol here.
The Chinese use different culture-based driving rules than America. For
example, it is not considered rude to use the horn frequently. It is used
routinely to signal to other drivers to get out of the way. In addition, cars,
bikes, mopeds and pedestrians are often walking in a seemingly chaotic pattern
down the same streets. There are crosswalks but people often jaywalk. There are
clear lane dividers, but drivers often disregard them.
In the city, vehicles make use of all available road space, regardless
of how the lanes are marked. Watching from the shuttle bus has been scary at
times as there are often near-misses. However, none of the Chinese drivers,
bicyclists or pedestrians seem to be nervous about it. There isn’t a lot of
slamming of the brakes. The Chinese know how to flow harmoniously in what appears
to be a chaotic driving pattern.
Shanghai rush hour
Chinese food in Shanghai is also a bit different. Much of China’s food
must be imported. There is lots of pork, red meat, fish, seafood, some chicken,
eggs, noodles, rice, greens and root vegetables, dumplings, bread, and
watermelon. There has been almost no dairy, and Chinese do not typically eat
cheese. Crab ragoon is not a dish that can be found here.
We are served warm, unsweetened soy milk for breakfast, instead of
regular milk. Chinese restaurants serve family-style with a lazy Susan to pass
the dishes. This is one example of the collective nature of the society here. We
are given a small plate or bowl, a spoon, a small cup, and of course chopsticks,
and then we spin the dishes from person to person.
Using the chopsticks can be challenging, especially with foods that are
slippery. It is also considered rude to stab food with any utensil. So we are
becoming proficient at moving the food from the shared dishes to our plates and
then from our plates to our mouths with chopsticks.
Students and Dr.
George Pomeroy at dinner
Chicken, fish, and shrimp are served with the head of the animal still
We visited the Tea Museum in the town of Hangzhou to learn about the
history of tea. China is the origin of the tea tree and the first country to
discover and use tea. Tea has been used as medicine, food and beverage.
Tea trees in
We were able to use test the arduous manual method of drying the tea
leaves through a twisting process.
Dr. George Pomeroy
and Shannon Pitt using the four bucket tea dryer
After the Tea Museum, we had the chance to sample traditional Chinese
green tea. Tea making is a very precise process that has taken years to
perfect. The quantity of tea leaves to use varies depending on the type of tea.
We sampled the delicious green tea.
We learned not to use boiling water for tea, as it ruins the healthful
properties of the tea leaves. Instead, one should allow the boiling water to
cool for 2-3 minutes first before adding it to the tea leaves. The hot water is
added to the cup of tea leaves three separate times, instead of all at once. Chinese
do not typically add sweeteners to their tea. We found the tea had a nice mild
taste. It didn’t need sugar to enhance the flavor.
Dr. Amy Diehl and
Shannon Pitt sampling green tea
Written by Vincent Rink
Over the past few days we
have visited some of China's many temples and natural wonders. Zhouzhuang was a
dream come true.
My dreams of China were
changed when arriving in Shanghai because it is in many ways similar to my home
town of Philadelphia, except on an unimaginable scale. When arriving in
Zhouzhuang my faith was restored. It is a small, but beautiful town with water
ways cruising through like an oriental Venice.
A Chinese water town: Zhouzhang
In Zhouzhang, we watched a
Peking opera show and saw the land of Shen that was a perfect representation of
Peking opera in Zhouzhang
That day we also took a
peaceful cruise down the canal on a man-boat or better yet woman rowed boat. It
was a very soothing moment as we were floating down the canal with the
wonderful song of our conductor serenading us. For me this was a piece of
heaven on earth.
Written by Dr. Amy Diehl
June 15, 2014: Our day started in painting class. Much like calligraphy
many individuals, including myself, were apprehensive about being able to
paint. Art class was never my favorite. However, after a brief lesson and some practice
I discovered that I have more painting ability than I knew. We used a single
color – black Chinese ink. We mixed it with water so that we could use various
shades of gray. We used a special paper – xuan paper – made from the green stalks
of the rice plant. Using the xuan paper and Chinese ink, it is possible to make
strokes varying from dark to light and from solid to hollow using the single
color. With our new skills, we were able to create crabs, fish, flowers, frogs
Students with our
works of art -- crabs, frogs, fish, squirrels, and flowers
After lunch, students had the chance to participate in T’ai Chi. T’ai
Chi translates as “supreme ultimate fist” and “chi” means “life energy.” The
ultimate goal is to reach a balanced state of power, energy and spirit with a
fully exercised meridian system. In traditional Chinese medicine belief, the
meridian system is the internal system in the human body through which
The techniques of T’ai Chi involve the use of leverage through the
joints based on coordination and relaxation, rather than muscular tension. It
is a slow, repetitive process to learn to generate this leverage. We learned
about Yang style T’ai Chi. The class started with warm up exercises. Then we
paired with another student to do arm and shoulder exercises and to massage
each other’s fingers. Finally, we learned three of 78 T’ai Chi moves.
finger massage with our instructor
The class practices
a T’ai Chi move.
After T’ai Chi, the class visited Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens, which
translates as “Garden of Happiness.” It was conceived in 1559 and completed in
1577 during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing as the private garden of Pan
Yunduan, the governor of the Sichuan province. It is quite large – about five
acres in size.
Ship students, who
are also all Ship alums, and Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy at Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai
There are five dragon stonewalls in the garden. In Chinese culture, the
dragons indicated a royal status. They were constructed to protect residents
from evil spirits. The dragon is a water warrior. Having the dragon on the top
of the walls protected the property from catching fire.
After the visit to Yuyuan Gardens, we went shopping in a local
marketplace. Students were able to practice their negotiation skills to make
purchases, resulting in great discounts from the original asking prices. It was
a long, full, and fun day.
Amy with one of the
five dragons at Yuyuan Gardens
Pomeroy, Vincent Rink, and Dr. Amy Diehl on the Bund waterfront (Huangpu River)
in Shanghai, China
On our first day at ECNU, we had an orientation session, a campus tour provided
by several ECNU students, followed by lunch. In the picture below, you see the ECNU’s
giant statue of Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, which he
governed from 1949 until his death in 1976.
Ship and ECNU
students in front of ECNU’s Mao Zedung statue
Dr. Jennifer Pomeroy provided the group with our first Chinese language
lesson, in which we learned to count from 1 to 10 in Chinese.
Pomeroy instructing the student travelers
During our second day at ECNU, we learned about the ancient Chinese art
of calligraphy. It involves learning to properly control the brush with
fingers, wrist and elbow. We worked on the Chinese symbol for power and some
students wrote their names in Chinese symbols using our newly acquired skills.
We learned that is it important that the characters be concise, legible,
written correctly and, most important — balanced. We were all surprised by how
quickly we picked up the basics of this new skill!
Dr. Amy Diehl and
Eden Eliff practice calligraphy
The class with our
beautiful finished work!
As a fun side note, one thing we noticed when we were taking group shots
with our Shippensburg University banner is that Chinese tourists were also
taking our picture. It’s always good to spread the Shippensburg University
Friday, June 14, 201
Today was an amazing experience! This was my first true day in a foreign
country and I was more than excited. Beginning the day I tried breakfast foods
that seemed very strange to me. It was fun to watch the others faces as they
tried eating food with suspicion than come to really enjoy what they were
Our class began at 8:30 a.m. and was very enjoyable. We learned numbers
1 to 10 and how to count with only one hand. I learned this previously in Dr.
Jennifer Pomeroy’s class so she asked all of her Chinese language students
(including me) to help students learn the numbers. It was a lot of fun.
Students from ECNU also joined our class to help us with our Chinese.
We took a small campus tour before having lunch with the director and
deputy director of the university.
Vince at ECNU
Lunch with Director
Wang and ECNU Students
Today’s word was “harmonious” which is a concept applied to everything
After class we journeyed into the city to visit People's Square which
lead to us visiting the (Shanghai) museum which was truly fascinating.
My favorite exhibit was the Chinese jade. Some much detail and hard work
was put into a true work of art.
After visiting People’s Square, we walked a short distance to see the
Urban Planning Exposition Hall. Inside was the largest scale model in the world
which was of the city Shanghai. The tour guide was very humorous and did an
excellent job of showing the past to present of the marvelous city! He told us
that Shanghai "’only 20 years ago” was
mostly a fishing town and that he could still remember before the humongous
building were erected. That simply is amazing how quickly this city has grown
to its mind-blowing size. After this long day I could only look forward to what
was in store.
We will be posting blog entries about our trip as it progresses, so be
sure to check back for updates.
Zàijiàn (Good bye)