Despite the horrible weather that has recently hit the Prescott campus, Project Pengyou’s Tea Ceremony and Study Abroad Talk persevered. On Nov. 20, 2019, a traditional Chinese tea ceremony was demonstrated in Building 60A. Professor of Asian Studies and Project Pengyou Advisor Hong Zhan educated the audience on the meaning of tea, the history of tea, the types of tea, tea recipes, the tea levels of oxidization, and the major tea producing regions, basically everything tea.
Professor Zhan had invited her friend to demonstrate a traditional Chinese ceremony. Via her instructions, the students learned the steps. This included washing hands, brewing hot water, mixing herbs, warming the cups, listening to calming traditional music, re-pouring the tea, and finally accepting the tea with two hands. Professor Zhan explained all the different tools and utensils used in the process. Once taught, the students were free to adventure to the other tables and try conducting their own tea ceremony. In addition to a variety of teas, students also were able to try typical Chinese snacks commonly consumed with tea, like biscuits, Poky, and square Rice-Krispy-like foods.
Once everyone’s stomachs were full, the students that had previously studied abroad shared their tea. One female aeronautical student had recently traveled to Chengdu for an international aeronautical conference with the Ninety-Nines program. She gushed about the different culture and how she was shocked at the hole in the ground toilets she experienced in the Chengdu airport. A few students spoke of their time in Taipei this past summer, and how the Taiwanese were very kind; even the road and shop signs had English translations. Club President Nicole Wood told of her experience in China and how, even as “a female tourist travelling alone in the city”, she felt safe and comfortable.
As questions naturally tend to follow, the study abroad students were asked about their experiences and classes as well as how they could afford it. While students in ROTC recommended Project Go, Chinese track student Alexis Macias suggested checking out “scholarship opportunities with the Women’s Ambassador” program. Numerous students recounted of times that Kelly O’Brien, the Director of Study Abroad, had assisted them in their trips and the pre-planning. Ultimately, all the students had greatly enjoyed their time and were encouraging others to share in their experiences.