Students Visit a Local High School, Watch Chinese Movies, and More!

Hear from students Arden, Amanda, Alex, & Maylin!

July 9, 2017

Arden W:

"Today was the first Friday we’ve spent in China, as well as the 4th day of speaking exclusively in Chinese. I know that I am feeling more confident in my language abilities, and I can tell my classmates and friends are as well.

I realized that I know far more Chinese than I would have thought; I can carry conversations with friends, teachers, and random people who ask where we are from with few problems.

Furthermore, if I or the person I’m talking to doesn't know how to say something, we are usually able to find a way around it and have our meaning understood.

In fact, today we went to a Beijing high school and did cultural activities with some of the students there. Some students learned about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), such as Michael Phelps’ use of cupping before the Olympics.

Other students learned about the Peking Opera and painted their faces in the traditional Opera style.

The third group learned about the art of paper cutting and made lovely artwork with it, and finally the fourth group, which I was in, learned about and made “Hairy Monkeys”—a monkey figure partially made of a cicada.

Although we are not fluent in Chinese, and no Chinese high school student was fluent in English, I found that we understood each other pretty well.

As today is Friday, we did not have culture class, so after we went to the high school we were able to relax, have some free time and go to dinner in small groups.

Following dinner, we watched some Chinese movies; I watched one called “Monkey King” and although it was very different from American movies, I really enjoyed it (and was pretty proud of myself for understanding a good part of it without reading subtitles). I think everyone else who watched it enjoyed it as well.

Speaking solely in Chinese is absolutely difficult and at times frustrating, but in my opinion it is also a fun and rewarding challenge."


Amanda E:

"Today, students visited a local high school in Beijing called Yu Yan Tan. Yu Yan Tan ranks number one in academics in the area and 98.5% of their students end up going to Beijing’s top universities.

Yu Yan Tan’s students taught us about their customs and about the snacks they like to eat. Next, they preformed a famous novel/play called "Journey to the West."  

We were paired with students from the high school. We spoke Chinese while Yu Yan Tan students spoke English. Then we did activities such as paper cutting, hairy monkey, face painting, and learning about traditional Chinese medicine.

Students tried traditional Chinese medicine—similar to acupuncture but without needles. The teachers put small pieces of adhesive in the student's ears to alleviate sleeping problems and organ problems by selectively placing the adhesive in specific spots.

The students were instructed to leave the adhesive in their ears for two days. Each location of the ear signifies a different organ."


Alex M:

"Today was the first day we got to see the sun since arriving in Beijing, which came as a pleasant surprise after yesterday’s seemingly endless rain. The day started off as usual with breakfast in our rooms followed by the morning assembly.

Class was interesting and I was surprised to find myself heading to lunch three hours later after what had seemed like a much shorter period of time. After lunch we piled on to a bus and drove to Yu Yuan Tan high school, where we were greeted warmly by students and teachers alike.

We were divided into four groups, each of which had signed up for a different activity such as paper cutting or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

After our return to the campus we enjoyed a blissful two hours of free time followed by dinner outside campus. The evening concluded with a movie and right before going to sleep we went to grab breakfast for the next day.

Well, it’s starting to look a lot like the weekend."


Maylin A:

"Today concluded the first week of our time here in Beijing. For the first time since we got here, it wasn’t overcast and the humidity wasn’t too bad.

We had regular class in the morning and then, instead of going to culture class after lunch, we went to visit a local high school where we were paired up with a local student. They were only allowed to speak English to us and we were only allowed to speak Chinese to them.

The local students gave a performance acting out a few scenes from the book “Journey to the West”. We then participated in a variety of different culture classes with our new found friends from paper cutting to Chinese medicine.

It was really fun to get to know the local students and find that we all had very similar interest. We said our good byes and went back to the campus.

For dinner, we were given a stipend that we could use to go out to a local restaurant with friends. We concluded the day by watching a movie, in Chinese of course.

After a long day, we were all tired but still excited for what would be in store for us in the coming days."


Casey T:

"Today we had amazing weather! The sky was blue and the sun was out! We had our regular three hours of class and all ate lunch together in the building’s restaurant.

After we ate, we had a super fun activity planned out for us! We all went to another high school, where they spoke to us in English, and we spoke to them in Chinese. We all sat at tables with people from the high school and chatted about ourselves.

They had a few students introduce themselves and also put together a performance for us! After the performance, we split up into four groups to do activities, such as paper cutting, getting facees painted, and learning about Chinese medicine.

At four o’clock, we had to say goodbye to our new friends and head back. During our free time, lots of people played soccer, went for a run, swam, or just chilled for a couple of hours!

In the morning, we were given money to use for dinner, so we all went out to eat. Once we were done, we had to head back in time for our movie! The movie had lots of adventure, along with some love interests. There were also a few songs every so often that made everyone laugh! Unfortunately, the movie had to be cut short so we could pack up our lunches for tomorrow.

We all headed down to the first floor to pack our usual breakfast, consisting of bread, eggs, and bananas, and ended the night with some free time with our friends.

We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow at the Great Wall of China!"