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Holly Mikesell

Exciting, interesting and trying

Traveling abroad is an exciting, interesting, and at times, a trying experience. This is as much true in China as it is anywhere else in the world. I wanted to share a few of my observations about what I have … (Read More) Exciting, interesting and trying

Who studies and what do they study in Chengdu?

So, who, you might wonder picks  Chengdu, China to study abroad in? And, what do they study in Chengdu? Well, at this point I think I have met almost all of the summer session II students, and they come from … (Read More) Who studies and what do they study in Chengdu?

Getting out of the city

This weekend I had a guest visitor join me in Chengdu from Hong Kong. My guest suggested that we visit Mt. Qingcheng which is located about 50 miles outside of Chengdu. I was excited about the possibility of getting outside … (Read More) Getting out of the city

Navigating Chengdu with no language skills

I have been settling into Chengdu and exploring the city over the last couple of days and I wanted to share more information about the USAC program in Chengdu as well as how I am managing in a country where … (Read More) Navigating Chengdu with no language skills

Southwest University for Nationalities

Our group has arrived in Chengdu! We were settled in our various accommodations, some of us, such as myself are staying in the international dormitory, while other students opted for shared apartments a short distance from the university. Afterwards, USAC … (Read More) Southwest University for Nationalities


Hutongs are narrow alleys or lanes and in Beijing there are very few left as the traditional courtyard residences which make up hutong are torn down for new development. I will not get into whether or not this is a … (Read More) Hutongs

First day in Beijing

12 hours and 4 movies later, I arrived in Beijing, China. I sailed through immigration (you must have a visa to China) and customs and quickly located an ATM. During my first attempt at withdrawing money the  ATM kept asking … (Read More) First day in Beijing

Selecting Chengdu

I have just over a month to go before I depart for University Studies Abroad Consortium’s (USAC’s)  summer session in Chengdu, China. Since being accepted into the program, I have been in steady communication with the staff at USAC, who … (Read More) Selecting Chengdu


(Read More) Testing

Smile, Interact, and be Positive

These are the words that our service-learning teacher presented us on the first day, “Smile, Interact, and be Positive.”  This was his advice to lead us to success in the community. Could it be that simple? I’ve seen challenged communities … (Read More) Smile, Interact, and be Positive