Calling Chongqing Home

Where in the World is Widener?


Chongqing, China

Ron Rabena '16 from Philadelphia majoring in international relations and political science, was one among nine Widener students and three faculty members who participated in the 2013 China Exchange Program with Chongqing Technology and Business University (CTBU).

By Ron Rabena ’16

In only two weeks, we traveled long and far. We made lifelong friendships, and called a new city, Chongqing, our home. I personally learned to adapt to a city very different from my hometown of Philadelphia. Walking in someone else’s shoes, and trying something new every hour of every day can be exhausting, but these experiences were worth it. I tried more new things in those two weeks than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed this opportunity that most will never have. 

During our time we toured one of the biggest cities in the world, learned basic Mandarin, danced for CTBU students, ate a local dish known as “hot-pot,” enjoyed many dumplings, visited with a local ultrasound company, visited a Taoist temple, learned some martial arts, and most impressive, took a trip to the Dazu Stone Carvings.

These carvings date back to the 7th century, and they remain strikingly beautiful. Walking through the carvings, it was amazing to see all of the rich details—the statues seemed to be alive. It was obvious that there was a detailed story being communicated. The carvings depict the Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist beliefs, and even though they differ from my own religious view, it was amazing to learn more about their rich history and learn more about how the world looked and people felt during that time in human history.

I had so much fun with our new friends from different countries all over the world. Comparing cultures, breaking language barriers, laughing at our or differences, and marveling at our similarities is what makes life meaningful. Although, I can never adequately explain how much this trip has helped me grow, I can say, that this was the experience of a lifetime. China is far different then my mind would have previously allowed me to imagine. It is a beautiful country, rich with history and home to some of the kindest students at CTBU. I can say that each day in China was a new, fun and exciting experience. From the Great Wall of China to the nightlife in Chongqing, every part of this trip was thrilling. Our group has made life long memories together and now have stories we will always enjoy telling. This trip has set the bar high for the next stages of our lives, but I know that I will eventually return to China. 

As seen in Widener Magazine Fall' 13 



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