by Regina Jehl

 

 

Even before we embarked on our journey to Shanghai, we were told that there would be an excursion to Beijing and Nanjing eventually. Also because a lot of our Chinese buddies came not only from Shanghai itself but also from Beijing and Nanjing. During our first weeks, it always was a bit unclear whether or when these excursions would take place, but then we got told it would be on April 24 to 26 about two weeks prior. That’s one thing about China and the Chinese way to go about things – you’ll have to be flexible and it was quite a difference to our semester back home, when we had all our dates fixed from the first unit of courses. Conveniently, these dates lined up with the Nanjing excursion on April 27 to 28. Almost everybody in our MCM group decided to head to Beijing a few days early to experience the city and most importantly the biggest landmark in China: the Great Wall. So on Saturday we went to the Wall with one of our buddies from Beijing. It was good to have a local with us, a group of ten foreigners is quite salient and maybe an easy target for a scam. All in all we had a great day on the Great Wall and still – two months after – it feels unbelievable to have conquered one of the new world wonders. The next day we went to the Forbidden City and two other buddies showed us around town and their favourite spots to hang out. We got to know Beijing and noticed it has a whole different vibe about it than Shanghai. Where Shanghai stands out with their huge skyscrapers, a beautiful skyline and fancy rooftop bars, Beijing on the other hand impresses with its down-to-earthness, which became obvious when we wandered through small laneways in the middle of the city to end up at a craft beer bar. The next day our excursions in Beijing started. Unfortunately we had some miscommunications and the Beijing University thought we will be staying a whole week instead of going to Nanjing later that week, so we were only able to visit a few of the media agencies which were planned. So we visited Caixin Media, China’s most influential media group, as well as Topline Media, a marketing agency. Both companies had prepared presentations for us, led us around their offices and made us feel very welcome. They had various things to tell us and it was important to see how Chinese media companies work. Especially at Caixin Media they were really open about how to work with the burden of censorship, which is one of the most interesting topics concerning the Chinese media landscape and quite relevant for us as media and communication students to experience during our stay in China. Even though our stay in Beijing was cut short we had a great time exploring the city and its surroundings and learnied a lot about working routine in Chinese media.