The Summer of my sophomore year, i visited Beijing and Hong Kong to explore the roots of Chinese identity. This research hinged on China’s imperial history and how it is perceived, and even romanticized. as i explored Beihai Park, an imperial garden located northwest of the forbidden City, i was deeply moved by the experience. as a history major at davidson, i could not believe i was strolling through the same gardens built by historical fi gures i had studied in class. at the same time, the diff erence between the garden’s serene beauty and the bustling streets just outside the garden walls made me wonder how locals perceived these historic tourist attractions. it seemed as if the beauty and importance of such sites were commonplace for them. i soon learned from conversations that although Beijing residents may not frequent such sites, the proximity of ancient culture invokes not only a sense of pride and national identity, but a poignant awareness of heritage that resonates with their daily lives.
—Iris Leung ’12