My experience in China up to this point has not been anything like I imagined it would be. While I was aware that we would be interacting with the the community, I could not have imagined this interaction would be as intimate as it has been.
During my first week here, I have been able to become completely immersed in the local culture, and while I was prepared for that aspect of the trip, I did not know what it would look or feel like. The most intriguing element of the culture we have been immersed in—for me personally—is the religious traditions of the area.
Our group has gained knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism in a way that very few others have been able to. I believe that being able to learn and experience this crucial part of the area’s culture has allowed the group to understand the implications and effects of this tradition on a much more personal and intimate level than one could ever learn in a classroom. I believe I speak for the entire group when I say that visiting the temple was an incredible experience which showcased the amount of dedication, historical significance, and current importance religion plays in the lives of many of the locals. The aura the temple gave off was absolutely unlike anything I have ever experienced.
From that experience I have learned that there is no way to really understand the significance of cultural traditions to a given area without experiencing them first-hand.
From that experience I have learned that there is no way to really understand the significance of cultural traditions to a given area without experiencing them first-hand. With the next two weeks we have here, I hope to dive even deeper into the ideals and traditions of this area, for without a true understanding of a previously unknown culture in this way, one cannot understand any world besides his own.