Adam Finkelstein is a third year Delta with a passion for traveling the world to learn more about the cultures of other countries and their distinct histories firsthand. As a History major, Adam enjoys studying events of the past whether it is learning about American past times right here in the Brockport History Department, or taking classes halfway around the world to explore one of the most ancient cultures on the globe. The later is exactly what Adam did last semester, Fall 2015, when he studied abroad in China.
Adam attended Beijing University, also known as Biada University, where he studied the Chinese language, Chinese politics, Sino-American relations, and took a history class that focused on China from about the 1860’s to 1960’s. Adam explained that Beijing University is basically the Harvard of Chinese universities and the biggest university he has ever been on. Any class he had to get to was at least a 20 minute walk, which is basically twice the commute from Mortimer to Hartwell here at Brockport (I’ve timed it at eleven minutes speedwalking).
China is a country rich in history and Adam found traces of the deep cultural roots in almost every area he visited. Of particular interest to Adam was his visit to Tiananmen Square and the relation that Chinese students have to the events that occurred there. Though here in the U.S. we learn all about the protests and their repercussions, Adam said that few of the students he knew had much to say about the square and the infamous events that occurred there, simply exclaiming that “it was a violent protest”. Adam, on the other hand, was in complete awe and considered his visit to Tiananmen Square one of his favorite moments of his trip.
Another highlight that Adam talked about was his visit to Tibet. The particular weekend of his visit, there happened to be a religious festival taking place, which Adam described as extravagant and interesting. Tibet is well-known for religion, especially the Buddhist monks who inhabit the beautiful east Asian region. Adam and his peers were advised not to take pictures of the ceremony, especially not of the cops who lined the streets with fire extinguishers beneath their shields in case there was any self-immolation by participants of the ceremony. Adam said most of the police officers were around his age, some even younger. This was once again a major “culture shock” , but a learning experience that he truly enjoyed and that enhanced his experience abroad.
Real-world experience such as this trip are one of the reasons that Adam was drawn to joining Delta College. He was intrigued by the aspect of internships and other professional development opportunities that our program has to offer. His experience in China served as his Delta Capstone, and clearly it was an experience of a lifetime.