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Students in ECU’s Construction Management Department traveled to China this summer and previewed the Olympic facilities. Above, they stand in front of the Beijing National Stadium – the “Bird’s Nest” – that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the games. (Contributed photo)

ECU Study Abroad Includes Preview of Olympic Facilities

By Christine Neff

Thirteen students and four faculty members from East Carolina University’s Department of Construction Management had the chance to preview the 2008 Olympic facilities on a study abroad trip to China this summer.

The students and their advisers spent three weeks in the country and visited four cities, Beijing, Tianjin, Luoyang and Shanghai.

In Beijing, they saw the Beijing National Stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, as well as the athletic events and soccer finals. The large structure, also called “The Bird’s Nest,” seats 91,000 people.

The building impressed ECU students, who viewed it in its final stages of construction.

Bryan Diseati, a student from Washington, D.C., noted the uniqueness of the massive, modern building.

“The whole structure really does look identical to a bird’s nest with the woven steel columns, the wavy bowl-shaped roofline and the open central space where the Olympic athletes will compete,” he said.

“The Chinese have created a very modern building that the world is already getting excited about.”

While in Beijing, the ECU group also saw the so-called “Bubble Building” or “Water Cube” that hosted the Olympic swimming competitions, and a high-rise building that resembles the Olympic torch.

Their tour of China took them to 40 locations of interest, including historical buildings and highways under construction. The trip was a first for the Construction Management program.

This page originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at