CAPS 4001/4003 Travel Journals: Learning Beyond the Classroom

Ianna Ramdhany Correa: Yiwu “the world’s capital for small commodities”

Yinwu shops

Of all the cities we traveled to within Zhejiang province, the one that was the most different from what I had imagined was Yiwu. Yiwu is known as “the world’s capital for small commodities” and boasts China’s largest wholesale market. Within this market, I was expecting to be the only foreigner around, as I had experienced in many of the places we had explored in Beijing. I quickly realized that I was greatly mistaken. At every twist and turn, I found other foreigners trying their hand at negotiating and buying in bulk, likely intending to resell in their respective countries.

Click here to read more about Ianna's Fall 2023 trip toYiwu.


Nicole Mah: Alibaba

In the first week of September, our journey led us to the province of 浙江, officially designated as the "共同富裕示范区" in May 2021. During our visit to Hangzhou, Yiwu, and Wenzhou, we explored a diverse array of companies, spanning genomics and e-commerce, smart home appliances and metal manufacturing. However, it was our insightful excursion to Alibaba that truly broadened my horizon.

Click here to read more about Nicole's Fall 2023 visit to Alibaba.

Eric Zhang: My journey across Zhejiang

Throughout my journey across Zhejiang, it was not the places I saw, but in fact the people I met that left the most significant impact.

My adventure began in Hangzhou, a city nestled on the shores of West Lake, known for its natural beauty and Alibaba's vibrant headquarters. I had the privilege of meeting with Carrie, who shared with me the inner workings of Alibaba, its unique company culture, and its unwavering mission. The passion she conveyed was infectious, and I left our conversation feeling deeply inspired. Alibaba's commitment to innovation and its dedication to making a positive impact on society left an indelible mark on me. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this incredible journey once I completed my college education.

Click here to read more about Eric's Fall 2023 journey across Zhejiang.

Victoria Liu: Observations of Taoism and Chinese Consumerism


Items for sale within a Taoist temple

"Not only is Taoism politicized as a symbol of Chinese culture, but it has also been commercialized. Aside from the more traditional means of fortune-telling and blessing, Qingcheng Mountain has also expanded its service to an immersive experience of Taoism, allowing tourists to spend a night or so in Shangqing Palace. You do not to be a pious believer to experience the daily lives of Taoist priests (道⼠). Region is run as a business here."

Click here to read more about Victoria Liu's Fall 2019 trip to Chengdu.


Kate Selley: An Observation of China's Rebound

People standing next to a large anchor
"Our trip to Tianjin and Binhai showed us two different chapters of Chinese history, allowing our group to gain a better understanding of the domestic narrative of Chinese history. The first day, we traveled to the Tianjin History Museum and several concessions previously held by Western powers and Japan. On the second day, we visited a handful of highly successful Chinese companies who had recently gained a global market. Seeing these two sides of China, the past and the present, fit together in my mental image of China’s history and development. Our first day in Tianjin represented a snapshot into the century of humiliation, and the trip to Binhai showed China’s astonishing rebound."

Click here to read more about Kate Selley's Spring 2019 trip to Tianjin and Binhai.


Kathy Wang: Empathetic Connections to China

A woman looking down a wall
"The show was absolutely amazing. I told my friend that Broadway shows pale in comparison to what I just watched. The intricate costumes, the seamless transitions, the pure emotion. It all lined up so flawlessly; I was left stunned. I told Erika that even had I not understood a single word of the show, the pure aesthetics and theatrics would have more than made up for it. There are so many things I want to talk about regarding the show, but I'm only going to talk thoughts on Buddhism. Throughout the course of the show, as well as through talking to our tour guide, I realized my personal thoughts in the past few months have been incredibly similar to those of Buddhist thought."

Click here to read more about Kathy Wang's Fall 2017 trip to Gansu.


Joseph Evans: Exploring the Silk Road Today

Man standing next to a display of Chinese staffs
"From the position of other tower site in relation to Yu Men in order to fire signals, to the very construction of the site, I found the simply military presence of the [Yumen Guan] to be interesting...It was during my self lead tour that I found that the silk road, a title that I always found too western in creation, was the term of Dutch origin from an explorer and historian that came to China at the turn of the 20th century."

Click here to read more about Joseph Evans' Fall 2017 trip to Gansu.


Wendy Chen: Camels, Caves, and Theater Without a Stage

A woman riding a camel
"Walking in the sand was incredibly tiring, each step was extremely taxing on the body, but it was so worth it.  The eight of us got into sledding tubes that were linked to each other and down we go. I cheered as the adrenaline pumped through me, as the wind whipped my hair back, as the small individual grains of sand pelted my face and lodged itself into every single exposed surface of my body and clothes. Still, it was an amazing ride that was much too short for my (and some other people's) liking, inciting cheers of 'one more time!' and 'let's do it again!' as we got off our tubes and tried to shake the sand off of us to no avail."

Click here to read more about Wendy Chen's Fall 2017 trip to Gansu.