Visa is coming along~~~

April 22, 2010

Ok, it’s time for the update of the week.  :D

I have just talked to the spokesperson from the Chinese Delegates and he has informed me that things are going towards the right direction. He said he will let me know every other day and inform me how the process is going. I am super excited and cannot wait to hear the good news from them.

After revise again and again for the agenda for this visit, we have finally come to a “final schedule” for the trip. The reason it still cannot be the final yet is because we have to follow the other local chapters’ time, since they are going to help us to host the delegates. We need to work around their schedule as well, however, because the Chinese government needs to see the agenda in terms of offering these delegates visa, so I have to sent them a “final copy”. I just want to share with you guys and hopefully I can get some feedback.

Monday, May 17:

3: 45 p.m.— Depart from Peking International airport

5: 15 p.m.–Arriving in Newark International airport. (12 hours time difference between two counties, so it will still be May 17th when the delegates arrive.)

8:00 p.m.—Dinner in NJ.

11:00 p.m.–Check in to Gennetti’s Best Western

Tuesday, May 18:

7:30am – Breakfast at Best Western

8:50am – Arrive at the Wyoming Valley Chapter

9am – Presentations by the Delegates

  • Lessons learned from catastrophic disaster response, such as your support of the relief efforts of the 2008 earthquakes;
  • Henan Red Cross Structure, Roles and Responsibilities;
  • Roles of those who volunteer and any training programs offered;
  • Status of the blood program in Henan including recruitment of blood donors.

Noon- Lunch at the Blood Center

1pm – Tour of Regional Blood Center

3pm-5pm – Tour of City Hall, County Courthouse, and Historical Society Museum

5pm – Welcome Reception at Wilkes University

6pm pm – Welcome Dinner at Wilkes University

After dinner will be free time

Wednesday, May 19:

7:30am – Breakfast at Best Western

8:15am – Trip to Scranton
9am – Lackawanna Coal Mine

Noon – Lunch at Scranton Chapter of Red Cross

1pm – Leave for Harrisburg

3pm – Visiting the State government (possibly greet with Legislators or Lt. Gov.)

4 p.m.- Visiting Hershey park

8 p.m.- Dinner (undecided)

Overnight in Maryland Hotel

Thursday, May 20:

8:00 am – Breakfast

9:00 am – Depart for Washington D.C.

9:30am– Tour of American Red Cross National Headquarter

Lunch at American Red Cross National Headquarter

Tour in the afternoon

  • White House Tour (Ask for the visit the White House tour)
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Smithsonian Tour
  • National Mall

6:00 p.m. Dinner in Maryland (A very traditional Chinese dinner)

8:00 p.m. Driving to Philadelphia (Where the Independence speech was given)

Overnight at Philadelphia

Friday, May 21 :

8:00 am – Breakfast at hotel

9:00 am – Visiting the Philadelphia Red Cross Chapter

Noon- Lunch at the Philadelphia Red Cross Chapter

1pm –5 pm — Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Independence Park

Dinner experience the Philadelphia Chessesteak

Overnight at NYC

Saturday,  May 22:

7:00 am—Breakfast (With all the belongs)

8:00 am– Visiting the NYC Red Cross

10:00 a.m.—Arriving

12:10 a.m. leaving Newark

Sunday, Return to China

Trip is complete

I am still pretty upset with the fact that I cannot be there during the trip because of my gradation, however I don’t think I want to miss out on my graduation either. I cannot believe time goes this fast, 4 years gone by without I even notice. But I have another good news to share with you all! I have just got accepted in New York University. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am super excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I hope you as my dear reader feel the same way as well.

Final counting down to my graduation, I have to say I am not that excited. Wilkes has become a huge part of my life; Wilkes is like one of another big American family for me. I didn’t even leave yet I have already missed everything so much already. But every little girl has to grow up and leave the family, but no matter what, I can always come home plus NYC is not that far. Oh! And mommy just got her visa as well, so here we come, the Zhang’s family!

Hope you all will have a great week! Stay tuned.

Words of the Week: Graduation (毕业典礼 Bi Ye Dian Li)

Money, Public Relations and a Sponsor

April 15, 2010

Since the time is getting closer and closer, money starts becoming an issue, so what I need to think it’s where we can get the money down to pay for the whole trip. At the beginning, the plan was the local Red Cross will pay for all the delegates’ expense including six people’s airfare, lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. If it’s during the normal time, the amount of money we need to raise might be doable. However, as most of you might remember at the beginning of the year, Haiti had a horrible earthquake, so for the local Red Cross, raising money to help Haiti become their top priority.

After discussing this with both the Henan Red Cross and the local chapter, we had made an agreement that the Henan Red Cross will help the local Red Cross pay the airfare. Right here, they had helped us cut the cost in half. I was very thankful with what they did in terms of helping us and being so understandable. According to my internship director, all the other chapters had agreed to cover all the expense when the delegates visiting their chapter. So now, it really comes down to the amount of money we have to raise for the delegates while they are visiting Wilkes-Barre, transportation and entertainment.

So far, for the first draft of the schedule, we had decided to have a welcome dinner at Wilkes University (since I am from Wilkes and most importantly I am proud of my school, so getting the delegates from my hometown to come to Wilkes is very honorable). So who is going to cater the dinner and where we can get the money from became an issue. Right there and then, I got an idea. Why don’t I ask my GREAT Zebra Communication and my school for help? Not surprisingly, Professor Jane Elmes-Crahall has agreed to help me with this account team and so are the other 13 amazing classmates of mine. I was very grateful and very excited to work with them.

Now as we have our PR group of the trip, we need to find a “sponsor” for the dinner at Wilkes. After discussing with my PR group and my professor, we decided to ask our amazing, lovely, caring school president and provost for help! So this Friday me and Amanda (one of my co-manager) went to the President’s Coffee hour at 8 in the morning and ask for help. [Did you guys see that? I got up at 8 to get the money down! Aren’t I a good intern or what? Lol…] it didn’t take long for them to say yes to me, and they were telling me they will do everything to help me with the progress. I just felt so lucky to have an amazing school like Wilkes and being around great people like this. So welcome Wilkes University to join us for the trip!

Finally money part had done for the week. I am pray they will get their visa on time so that everything will end up happening.

Wish us luck! Stay tuned.

Words of the week: Money 金钱( Jin Qian)

Pure Brightness Festival

April 14, 2010

We made a huge progress this week, finally we sent out our official invitation to the Delegation, which they are really happy with. However, the Red Cross still decided to invite them to come during the week of May 17th to the 22th, which as I mentioned before that is my graduation week! (Yeah~~~)

I am still very upset about I will not be able to be with the group for a whole week because my family’s arrival, hopefully the Chinese Delegates will understand the situation, because I will still work with them for 3 days before my family arrivals. It just getting harder and harder, I thought it will be easy for the Chinese delegates to accept the news that I will not be able to be with them for the whole trip, however the contact person was really upset, because they said they still wanted me to help them during the trip, since they had already built trust with me. I have to say that it was an honor to hear from them telling me how good of the relationship we have built with one another for the past couple month.

However, there is good news to tell, we will have a new group of people to help us to coordinate the whole trip. Right now, all I know is that they will help me to start communicate with the Chinese Red Cross, however we still don’t know whether they will be able to help us be with the Chinese group from Thursday to Saturday. But hey, any help will be very helpful for sure!

Easter Break recently passed and something very interesting happened. It is very rare that Easter happens on the same day as the Chinese Pure Brightness Festival. What it is according to China.com. “The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. The Qingming Festival sees a combination of sadness and happiness. This is the most important day of sacrifice. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. Also, they will not cook on this day and only cold food is served. On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people who came to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices. Traffic on the way to the cemeteries becomes extremely jammed. The customs have been greatly simplified today. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet. In contrast to the sadness of the tomb sweepers, people also enjoy hope of Spring on this day. People love to fly kites during the Qingming Festival. Kite flying is actually not limited to the Qingming Festival. Its uniqueness lies in that people fly kites not during the day, but also at night. A string of little lanterns tied onto the kite or the thread look like shining stars, and therefore, are called “god’s lanterns.”  So there is your cultural education of the week.

Wish us luck everyone, hopefully things will work out at the end!

Words of the week: Happy Easter 复活节快乐 (Fu  huo jie kuai le)

Stay tuned.

Is this going to happen?!

April 14, 2010

Recently, I received call from the Henan Red Cross and now I am just wondering if this trip will end up happening.

As I mentioned before how stressful getting the visa for us as International Students, more so for the Delegation to the local Red Cross people. This week has been going crazy; things are just changing again and again. So on Sunday night (which is a Monday morning in China, there is 12 hours difference between these two countries), I got a call from the Chinese Red Cross, they told me that we will have to change the days to 6 days instead of 7.

According to their spoke person, the rules for the Chinese delegates to travel to other countries are:

  • If the person or the group is/are going to one country, they will have 6 days to travel including the flight time;
  • If the person or the group is/are going to two countries, they will have 10 days to travel including the flight time;
  • If the person or the group is/are going to three countries, they will have 15 days to travel including the flight time.

So now, instead of 7 days, they will only have 5 days to really spend in America (since the flights take away 27 hours already, 13 hours and a half for each way). However, that was not the only change we had for the week. Two days later, I got a phone call again by telling me I will have to change 6 people to 5. L

The reason is because one of the delegates went to Hong Kong recently, and the other rule from the government is that if this person has traveled outside China within two years, this person cannot travel abroad again until the two years has been past. I just found this was super interesting, because who would of thought these delegates have these much rules to follow? However I have to say, I don’t believe this apply for everyone in every part of China. This should be varies in terms of who they are and which province they represent, so if you want ask me what if the Chinese Chairman of the Congress want to travel for international meetings? You bet! He will have no problem! So please keep in mind that most of the rules I talked about on this blog would be mainly represent the Henan Province Government.

As interesting as it is, I still have to make all the changes. This internship by far has been really interesting, even though I am at my internship during morning time, at the same time, every night around 9 o’clock (sometimes even later) I would call from the Chinese Delegates spokeperson and update that person what our progress is.

Last Friday as I mentioned before, that our school (Wilkes University) decided to helpful with my internship and get money to help pay for the trip. I had just talked to our provost yesterday and told him to be patient with me in terms of the new date and if the delegates will still be able to come during the school year. I am just really grateful that all the people has been very helpful through this whole process, and so far I have really learned a lot, and I hope you as my dearest reader feel the same way as well.

P.S. for this week, guess what? I have just got accepted to American University with a major in International Politics!!!!!!!!!!! When I got that letter I was crying my eyes out, because you have no idea who stressful I am for the past whole year! I am just so happy that finally I got accepted! So now, keep figures crossed for me to see where I would get into next!

Stay tuned.

Words of the week:   Internship 实习 (Shi Xi)

Things are getting tougher!

March 25, 2010

Time goes so fast! Before you know it, it’s almost April and things need to start getting done soon. This week I finalized the invitation for the visit, and guess what? Changing it again and again was not fun.

Well, maybe you start thinking why would you concern about getting this invitation done so desperately? It is because that’s what the government needs to issue these “visitors” passports. Maybe you guys don’t know about this, the Chinese Red Cross is actually government controlled, so anything they do has to follow what the government says instead of American Red Cross which is donation and non-profit based. This is kind of an exchange trip between two counties, so now you know how big of a deal this visit is.

Today I want to talk about how different it is for us to come to America as an international student.

There are about 8 different categories getting a visa, they are Business & Tourism (B1/ B2 visas), Studying in the U.S. (F and M visas), Exchange Visitors (J visas), Employment (H, L, O and P visas), Dependents (F2, m2, J2, L2, and H4 visas), Press & Media (I visas), Transit (C visas) and others.  Different types of visa will require different types of documents and in terms of how to apply and how long it will take it varies as well.  Today I just want to share a little bit about my own type of visa, which is the F-1 student visa.

As an international student, as soon as we got accepted to a University, the school will issue us an I-20 form, and that will be our legal document. It will by legally allow us to stay in the United States during the school year, which normally will be up to 4 years. After getting the I-20, we will start first by making an appointment with the American Embassy in China. (There are only 6 place you can go get your visa interviews in China, Beijing, Shen Yang, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hong Kong) Because of the limited places can issue visas in China, so lots of people from other parts of the country will always have to travel long hours to get to the Embassy.

As everyone probably knows, there are 1.3 billion people in China, so you can imagine the vast of people trying to do their interviews. According to the Embassy five years ago (the first time I went for my visa interview), every day they have around 800 people trying to get an American Visa. As the relationship grows between China and America, you can just imagine how many people each day were there for the interview then. Normally for business or exchange purpose, the interview should be scheduled one month earlier, and for student visa like I have, two month ahead is recommended. You can tell how hard for us to get this interviews now, and because of the mass amount of people try to come, so normally there is about 50% chance for you to get denied. However you can always re-apply, but it just takes time again. True story, because of the visa got denied, one of my friends’ brother end up lost his chance to study at UCLA with full scholarship. So for us, getting visa is super important.

I am just pray to God that things will work out that the Chinese delegates can come here on time! Wish us luck guys~~~

Word of the day: 签证 (Qian Zheng). This means Visa in China!

I love DR~~~

March 25, 2010

My Amazing team~~~

Hi everyone, it’s time to update how I’m doing now with my internship. Last week was our Spring break, so instead of laying on the beach and getting tan, I decided to go with our Alternative Spring Break group to the Dominican Republic.  Therefore I wasn’t be able to work for the Red Cross. Before I went on this trip, everything was out of the blue. I didn’t know what to expect, what we would do, what kind of place we would be staying at, and most importantly whether we could make a positive impact on those children at the orphanage. Now I can say; this was a trip of a lifetime. So this week’s topic will be a little bit different from what this blog is about, but it should be fun to share my experience with you guys for a little bit as well. :D So hope you like it~~~ <3

During this trip, every day we went to a local school called Distrito municipal Cruce De Gustscanes. In the morning we were teaching 7th grade children, in the afternoon class, we were teaching 4th graders, and later on we would come back to the orphanage and stay with the orphanage children. Since there was no internet and any electronic accessories, we used the most basic way to communicate with one another and that made me notice how much things we have be missing in our lives. Today people seem so busy with their jobs, problems, relationships etc. and they forget the one most important thing, and that is to communicate love. I was really nervous when I went to school to teach for the first day, I was really worried that the children might not understand me since I don’t really speak any Spanish. However I was totally wrong about that, non-verbal communications such as body language really made them understand me well.

All the girls~~~

Because English is my second language as well, it really helped to communicate and teach these children ESL a little bit easier. We would sing songs together, play games together, draw pictures and so on. I was very proud all of my students by seeing how many words they have learned in a short period of time and I was very surprise how much impact we had on those students and how close of the relationship was built between me and those kids. I was so happy when I saw a couple of our morning class children standing in front of the school gate waiting for us, and when they saw me getting off the bus they were screaming our names. I was very surprised by their appearance since they suppose to go to school just 4 hours in the morning. I asked them why they were there, and they told me they knew we would be leaving on Friday, so they wanted to be with me as long as they could. Right then, I lost my voice.

Our 4th graders

Saying goodbye to those kids was much harder than I could possibly think of. In the afternoon, most of the kids came by again to say goodbye. After hugging all of them again and again, we finally got on the bus. Suddenly, all of these kids ran over and to hold our hands, screaming our names and someone asked me “Chow Chow, back, December!” I told them I will definitely try to come back as soon as possible to visit them. As the bus started moving, the kids started running and crying until the bus speed up a little more. Our group leaders told us not to show your emotion because that would make those kids more upset, so I used all my strength to hide my feelings until the kids couldn’t see the bus anymore.

They were standing here everyday waiting for us~~~

I felt this trip really made me a better person and to see things differently in life. It’s a life changing experience to see that those kids, who have practically nothing, are some of the happiest people I have around me.  After thinking and talking to all the people on the trip, I know for sure that whatever job I am doing in the future, I want to serve and make a good difference for other people’s lives. This week made me realize how much joy it will bring you when you are doing something to serve people. The reason I did not use “help” after this trip was because I notice if we say we want to help those kids, that would mean they are all helpless, but they are not. We are there because we want to simply bringing them more joy and add color to their everyday lives.

Our morning 7th graders~~~

One of the interns of the program once said, “When I left this place, I felt that I was leaving my home, because that is what you build while you are there. A home in which you are with amazing people (such as this 250 group) at all times, and a home that is filled with love coming in the form of a small boy smiling at you when you look at him.” And that was exactly how I felt about my experience.

After this trip, I cannot think about doing something else in life other than to serve people, to use my ability to help people and make their lives better. For those who is reading my blog now, I want to tell you guys that life is short, so live in it without regret! If you have a chance to do something cool like this, take it! You will notice how much joy you will get and how much you can learn from your experience.

Everyday my teammates and I are saying how much we miss those kids. I really hope this red cross trip will end up working for us, because this will be a great knowledge exchange for both chapter and I am sure one day it will benefit the people from both countries as well.

May God bless America and China. Stay tuned.

Word of the day: 服务(Fu Wu). This means Serve in China!

Hello Everyone~~~

March 11, 2010

Hey everyone, how is everyone doing today? Before I start this first post, I would like to first introduce myself to everyone.

My name is Xiaoqiao Zhang. Right now you might go “Wow~ What is going on here? How in the world would I be able to pronounce this (if you are not Chinese)”. No worries guys, compared to other Chinese students, my name is actually easy to pronounce. It would be “Chow Chow”. I believe most if not all my American friends spell my name that way in their phone book, which I totally do not mind.

Internship at NBC Washington

As a 21 years old college student, I am very confident that there are not a lot of students with the same amount of experience that I have right now. My experiences are unique. From working for China Central TV during the 2008 Olympic Games, to the 2009 NBC Washington TV-station’s consumer unit internship, and also on two  2009 political campaign. I am currently working with the Chinese Red Cross visit to the United States in April. People might think “how can this girl get all those internships from all over the place?  And where did she get all her time from?” Well, my answer is very easy and simple, “I am a crazy girl who loves to work!”

Me and Shawn Johnson

Shawn Johnson and Me 2008

For the past 4 years of working experiences, I have to say that the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympic Games is the most exciting and unforgettable experience I have ever had. Everyday getting up at 8 a.m. working until 3:30 a.m. was crazy; however I did not feel tired at all for that short 18 days. Every morning when I awoke, there was always something new waiting for me: interviewing famous people like Yao Ming, Jackie Chen, Lebron James and other athletes and learning about different sports like basketball, softball, fencing and so on. I don’t believe as a 20 years old college student, you won’t feel that your blood will pumping and your world would just make sense like me when you work during this once-in-a-lifetime internship.

Now it’s time for me to start my journey with the experience with the American and Chinese Red Cross. Let’s start our journey by getting to know how I got involved with this trip first!

Last year’s February, while I was doing my “study abroad” down at American University, I got an e-mail from Mr. Michael Zimmerman, the former Regional Executive Director from the local Wilkes-Barre American Red Cross Chapter. He told me that he got my information from an alumnus from Wilkes University and noticed my hometown is Henan Province, which is where the Chinese Delegations are come from. They thought it would be a good idea to contact with me and ask me to be their trip translator and here I am! Later on it turned out I am not only doing the translating part, but helping organizing the whole trip, which I am not going to complain because this is just making this internship more interesting and COOL!!!!!!!!

Ok, I don’t want to give out too much information for the first post, throughout this blog, I will keep you guys updated with what I am doing each week, and inside my blog I wanted to share my culture experience as well! So keep reading, I promise you at the end of my internship, you will not only being entertained by me, but also learn lots of things from China!!!

Stay tuned!!! <3

Chowder~~~

Word of the day: 你好 (Ni Hao, you can think as Knee How). This means hello in China! ;)

Happy Chinese New Year~~~

March 11, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year guys, this is the 5th year I haven’t been spent Chinese New Year with my family. I am not going to lie, I miss them terribly, and have one exam on Monday, not to mention doing my internship at the same time!

So far the organizing of the trip is going well.  On Chinese New Year, however, so no one is going to work. I know everyone might think, “Oh my goodness that is very lucky for you guys!” Don’t be jealous everyone, because my family only got to take days off during this special time of the year. Today’s culture lesson of course would be what Chinese New Year is!

According to the History.com, “The Chinese New Year period began in the middle of the 12th month and ended around the middle of the first month with the waxing of the full moon. Observance of the New Year period was traditionally divided into New Year’s Eve and the first days of the New Year. Traditionally for the Chinese, New Years was the most important festival on the calendar. The entire attention of the household was fixed on the celebration.

Dumplings I made for New Years~ Pretty yummy right?

During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the principal focuses. In preparation for the holiday, homes were thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi,” or inauspicious breaths, which might have collected during the old year. Cleaning was also meant to appease the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections. Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons were offered to gods and ancestors. People posted scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Elders gave out money to children. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents. Most important was the feasting. On New Year’s Eve, the extended family would join around the table for a meal that included as the last course a fish that was symbolic of abundance and therefore not meant to be eaten. In the first five days of the New Year, people ate long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon were shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.”

Daddy and Mommy shopping for New year~

This is something I love about our Internet, especially Google; I was thinking how I can explain about Chinese New Year to you guys, and there is! (For more detailed information on the Chinese New Year, please visit http://www.history.com/topics/chinese-new-year)

Because China is a big country like America, so we have different ways and tradition in terms of celebrating our Chinese New Year. For example, according to History.com, it said, normally we will have fish as one of the dish during our Chinese New Year celebration dinner, however for where I came from, normally we will eat that fish but not finish it! Because fish in China it will pronounce as “Yu”, it sounds like the word which means “left-over”, so what this means is that we want this year to be a full filing year for the family that no one will surfer with hunger (Well if you see what my clothes size is, you will not worry about me suffering from hunger! Lol…)

This year is the year of the tiger, so whoever is reading, if you were born of the year of 2010, 1998 1986, 1974, 1962 etc, congratulations guys, you are the year of the tiger! Normally in China, if this year is your year, people would wear something red every day, because what people saying is that if this is the year of your animal, you will be either super lucky or super unlucky, and red will protect you from danger. So, I hope everyone will have a great year of 2010, and happy the year of Tiger!

Wilkes University Chinese Student Org celebrate Chinese New Year!!!

Stay tuned <3

Word of the day: 新年好 (Xin Nian Hao) it means Happy New Year!


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