Hi, I’m Meghan! For those of you who don’t know me, I am going into my third year of chemical engineering, and I am currently participating in the summer research opportunity offered in China. I have now been in China since the beginning on May, and will stay here until the end of July.
I am positioned at the Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou, working as a research assistant on “Raman spectroscopic study on the solubility of CO2 in water in a fused silica capillary reactor”. For this project we are testing the solubility of CO2 from 293K to 363K and from 3MPa to 30MPa.
I can honestly say I am loving my time here, both in the lab and out. On the weekends we have the opportunity to travel all over. The Chinese train system makes it very easy to move around the country, especially with the fast trains which can travel at speeds around 300 km/hr.
To date, I have been to Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing and Tianjin. There have also been some weekends where we stay in Hangzhou, as it is the home of the beautiful West Lake.
Here are some of the highlights of the trip so far:
Great Wall Camping, Beijing
Not many people can say that they have slept on one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, but that’s exactly what we did. This was one of the many trips where I met up with other Western students that are here in China for the same program.
We had a one hour hike up to the Wall itself, where we dropped off all of our packs. We then walked along the Wall for a few hours and explored multiple different watchtowers. The part of the wall we were on was completely unrestored, and overgrown in a lot of places. This meant that we got this part of the Wall all to ourselves, as most tourists go to the restored areas.
That night we slept on the Great Wall. Although the wind really decided to pick up and there were a few times when it seemed like our tent would be blown off the Wall, it was still an incredible experience!
My tent, pitched on the Great Wall itself. Beijing, China
Waiting for the sun to rise at the Great Wall (it was a little chilly). Beijing, China (Left to right: Meghan Vissers, Kelsey Crawford, Quinton Cleghorn)
West Lake, Hangzhou
Being just a short taxi ride away from my residence, I have visited West Lake many times over the past two months. This serene lake within the city is the home of many beautiful pavilions, temples and gardens.
We have visited many of these attractions, gone on boat rides, and strolled around the lake. We have also visited the Leifeng Pagoda, which appears in some Chinese folklore. The one story I learned about while visiting the Pagoda is called The Legend of the White Snake (rough English translation). I won’t go into the details of the story here, but as someone who has always loved myths and legends it was really fun for me to discover this story and visit the Pagoda.
View of the Leifeng Pagoda, West Lake, Hangzhou, China
Tiger Hill, Suzhou
Obviously China has many, many historic sites. We have been to plenty. However, the interesting thing about this particular site, Tiger Hill, is that apparently it was once the home of Sun Tzu, the man who wrote The Art of War.
As the name implies, the entire site is located on a hill. The park consists of multiple building, temples, reflecting pools, and bridges. Among other things, Tiger Hill also has its own “leaning tower” (pictured below).
Visiting the Leaning Tower, Tiger Hill, Suzhou, China (Left to right: Meghan Vissers, Haley Overholt)
Sadly, my time in China is drawing to a close. However, I am excited to see where these next few weeks take me!