Helen’s Travel Corner

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China Update

June 3rd, 2008 · 4 Comments

Hi Cheating on this post and just cutting and pasting what I sent my family and friends in an email.  The letter does a nice job to get everyone updated, so here it is:

Dear Family and Friends,

Just last night I was talking with a friend on what to pack for China…toilet paper apparently is a must! It’s been awhile since my last update so with less than a month to go I thought I would bring everyone in on the countdown: 28 days until departure! Oh, and they haven’t given us our visas yet. I’m currently taking deep breaths and not panicking. The last email update was when I was going through the rigorous testing the Beijing Officials administered. Memories of being videotaped from behind a double-sided mirror are flashing through my mind! You would think that since we passed that, we all would be a shoe-in for our visas. On a slight tangent, after the testing was done, we were told that the purpose of the testing was to cut 10 people out of the Emerson program! Luckily the entire class was so impressive that all 35 people made the cut!

I depart July 1 from Boston and fly into Atlanta. From Atlanta I fly straight into Shanghai and will land on July 2. Megan, my best friend since 3 years old and now a Delta stewardess, totally has hooked me up with a buddy pass for the trip and is saving me TONS of money – Thank you Megan!! I’m flying into Shanghai because that’s where Delta’s destination is in China. If there’s an open seat, Megan might fly with me to Shanghai for a couple of days which would be great to break up the 17 hour flight. I’ll have a couple of days to see Shanghai before jumping on an overnight train and sleeping on the 10 hour ride into Beijing. My classmates on the group flight will be landing on July 8 so I’m hoping to get to Beijing a couple of days prior…the last thing I need to do is be late for the first day of the program!

Highlights of what I’ve learned about what I’m doing in Beijing and general FAQs (although mostly there are still a lot of unanswered questions):

-I’m now assigned to basketball and baseball and my main function once the Olympics start is to take flash quotes. That’s right- I could be interviewing Kobe Bryant and LeBron James among other basketball stars! Apparently we will be sporting a fashionable uniform adorned with a bright orange mock while working at the Games…I’m sure you can’t wait for those pictures!

-I’m staying at the Communication University of China and dorming with Bettina, another IMC major and good friend of mine here in Boston. Only Bettina and I randomly got assigned to baseball and basketball which is really exciting (and made the guys in our class very jealous)!

-I’m also staying and working for the Paralympics which follow the Olympics. Only 8 people from Emerson will be staying for this. I’ll have about 10 days after the close of the Paralympics to travel a bit in China.

-Before the Olympics start, our jobs are mostly undefined but more than likely we’ll be doing research on players, teams, and stats to prepare and aid the journalists report on the Games. Mostly we have no clue what are schedules or tasks are going to be.

Between now and July 1, I’ll be getting my life in order here in Boston and attacking my pre-departure to-do list. My Mandarin still has a ways to go and I’m aiming to recommit time to practicing it all this month. I’ve also created my own social media experiment to keep everyone informed on what I’m up to with my very own travel blog found at www.helenstravelcorner.com. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with it and have probably have put too much time into it! I’ll still send out updates through emails for those who prefer to hear from me this way. And for those wondering, a really easy way to contribute to my Beijing fund is if you already use the services or products from the links found on my site, like Amazon.com, just click through my site first to reach them and I’ll get credit for the purchase. To date, I’ve racked in a whole $7! (I say that sarcastically but really I was excited when I got my check in the mail :). I’ll try to write as much as I can on the blog this month…but in least, two postings a week.

Please send me questions, emails or call me…I’d love to talk with as many people as I can over the next month because god only knows what I’ll be censored on while over there. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support I’ve gotten! I’m truly blessed to have the amazing family and friends that I do – thank you!

More updates to come!

Much love,


Tags: Beijing Olympics Program

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adrienne // Jun 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Hey Helen!

    Reading your blogs made me realize how much I have to do! I’ve hardly given a thought to China since school ended, since all I’ve been doing is working, going out, and looking for apartments for September. I really have to get my act in check! Your list was really helpful, though. I’m going to use this rainy night to make myself a BIG list and commit to crossing a few things off every week.

    I’ve done a semester abroad before, and short trips, but packing for two months is really hard to gauge–any suggestions on what to pack for clothes?


  • 2 Nomadic Matt // Jun 6, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    hmm i’m going to have to look into amazon…it will probably work better than my other sponsor ads.

  • 3 Claudine // Jun 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Helen!

    It sounds like you are really having a good time in China. I have a friend who is going this summer. I’m so excited for you. It’s great that you may interview Kobe.

  • 4 Jan-Hendrik // Jun 10, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Hey Helen,

    your next few months seem to be very exciting-I wish you all the best for your time in China. I hope you will find some time to follow my Chile adventure 😉 It makes me happy that there is more people than me that spice up their life by adventure, travel, and cultural understanding.

    We’ll definately keep in touch, cheers Jan

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