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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Exploring China

'04 McDermott Scholars James Fickenscher (left) and Liam Skoyles are studying language and culture in China this fall. Here's a posting from Beijing:


Before I came to Beijing, I didn't really know all that much about Chinese culture or the Chinese way of life; all I had heard about pretty much was censorship and cheap food. Little did I know the great and wonderful culture into which I was about to be totally immersed. Since coming I have been completely taken away by the Chinese people and culture. The Chinese way of thinking is so completely different than that of Americans, and I feel that my time here will educate me both as a student and a worldly cultured person. The fact that the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program encourages this kind of experience shows its dedication to the well-rounded development of its scholars and demonstrates its desire to help motivated, great students like you become people who can truly change the world.


As I stepped off the plane in Hong Kong, it was like stepping into a fairytale vision in my dreams. I zipped across the harbor on the lightning-fast airport express train and reflected on the previous six weeks: I had just planed, trained, taxied, and rickshawed my way across the Indian subcontinent—convenience stores, air conditioning and sit-down toilets were a distant memory. I shelled out 100 Hong Kong Dollars at the end of the line, the same price as a full week's worth of lodging in Delhi. Hong Kong was everything I missed about the West and at the same time everything I was loath to remember. Well-groomed businessmen brushed past, teens bounced along with shopping bags and the streets were sterilized. However as the memory of thousands of colourful kites flying over Delhi against a fiery sunset waned, a new appreciation of the world's newest superpower dawned. Over ten days I wound my way to Beijing. As I finally walked into the Beijing Foreign Studies University dorm, my home for the next semester, I had fallen in love with this amazing new society. Not to mention the fact that a year of Chinese language study made the taxi ride infinitely more convenient.


Everything in Beijing is awesome still, and tomorrow we leave for a two week trip around Xinjiang and even get to go hiking up to the Russian/Chinese/Mongolian/Kazakhstani border!

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