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Credit: Keith Wilson

When most people list out places they want to visit, you see a lot of places with beaches, warm weather and exotic scenery. One place you don’t usually see however is China. I’ve had the opportunity to live there both as a student and a professional and it was by far one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. Here are a few of the reasons my time in the “People’s Republic” was so special.

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The Culture/Food:

What makes China so unique is the heightened sense of history/culture that touches every part of the land. It’s one of the four ancient civilizations, with a history of over 3,000 years. The culture in Beijing is more traditional than Shanghai which has a more Western look and feel (they got Wal Mart y’all!!). As for the food, it’s amazing and each region has its very own unique dish. While you’re there you should try out the Beijing roast duck, Shanghainese soup dumplings, spicy hotpot in Chengdu (my favorite), rice noodles in Guilin, and dim sum in Hong Kong.

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If you didn’t know, the exchange rate in China is VERY favorable to the U.S. Dollar which makes shopping in China a steal. If you don’t go shop at any other place in China you have to go to the Silk Market. The Silk Market is a shopping center that houses over 1,700 vendors. Here you can get an entire wardrobe for the low. While I was there I got to choose the material and design of my very own tailored suit and winter coat that was made in 3 days. I spent around $300 altogether. You’re not going to find that type of deal anywhere else….

Monuments and Landmarks:

China has a treasure trove of historical landmarks and monuments that just leave you speechless. From the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace and even the Bund in Shanghai. You can easily get lost in the rich history of these places. They’re also great spots to get some nice shots for the gram!

The People:

Let’s be honest for a minute y’all. China isn’t one of the most diverse places, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t value diversity. The times I’ve been in China I felt like a celebrity. Because of limited access to western media outlets there isn’t much representation of Africans/African Americans for the people of China to reference so they probably thought I was some famous person from the states. While walking around so many people wanted to meet me and my friends and take pictures with us. The obvious language barrier didn’t stop them from wanting to shake our hands, hug us and take pics. It’s not every day they see people of color walking around. Just as we were fascinated with their culture they were fascinated with ours.

Follow Keith on Instagram & twitter @goodfella_ko11: He is the founder/CEO of Kompass Events (@kompass_mapp), an event sharing mobile app that allows users to share, discover and explore events near them. He’s based in Atlanta and loves traveling, painting and growing his business.

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