University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Global and Regional Studies Program


Michael Hoffman spends winter break in China...

Journey to Suzhou – City of Water

Michael Hoffman


My time in China was mostly spent studying Chinese under the smoggy sky of Beijing. I love Beijing and have many fond memories of the months I spent there. It was how ever on the one trip I took away from Beijing county that I truly fell in love with a China every bit as different from Beijing as the green hills of Vermont. It was my first visit to a region know in Chinese as Jiangnan or south of the river as it can be interpreted, it is the region around the lower Yangtze River and includes towns such as Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shaoxing and myriad other water towns.

Suzhou, my destination on my New Years trip, is known as the Venice of the east and like many of the historic townships of Michael Hoffman City of Suzhouthe region is crisscrossed with a vast network of canals. Suzhou is a land of gardens and water in which over thousands of years man has created an environment of harmony and natural beauty. It was this connection I felt in Suzhou with not only nature but also of water that captivated me and showed me a side of China I had been blind to in Beijing. Suzhou is a beautiful city and my time there is testament to the tremendous diversity within China and Chinese society. In the years to come I hope to get better acquainted with this ancient land of water and beauty that I only scratched the surface of last winter.

Michael Hoffman in Suzhou China

Last modified February 26 2013 11:16 AM