A Visit to Beijing's Hutongs and Student Performances
Hear from Jordan H, Rachel M, Theo S, and Jon O!
After eating breakfast, the MIL students attended their three hours of classes, where they learned about historical locations in China as well as how to describe their places around them. After going out to lunch at some of Beijing’s great restaurants, the students returned back to class, where they took culture classes in writing Chinese characters, paintings, Taichi or Kong Fu. Shortly after, they students took off on the subway to go to some of China’s famous Hutong’s, to further use the knowledge they gained in class hours prior. After returning, the students had about 45 minutes of free time before having to return to their classrooms to work on their presentations they would share to the MIL community. After preparing, the students presented on things such as Beijing’s famous sites, some of the do’s-and-don’ts in China and even songs that featured Chinese renditions of Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
We are about halfway done with the program, and I can definitely see that everyone is improving in fluency and in vocabulary. It has been really fun to experience famous sites in China while being able to speak the language. It is such an incredible feeling to talk to locals and have them actually understand what you are saying. We have already had so many opportunities to practice our Chinese around the school’s town and in Beijing’s historical sites. Today we went to Old Beijing’s Hu Tong and Si He Yuan district where we were able to actually go inside a Si He Yuan, which is a traditional Chinese residence that has four houses surrounding a yard. I remember learning about these unique houses in my Chinese class, but actually being able to experience these houses and alleyways in person was a really great experience.
Today was another day of exploration in Beijing. For today’s activity we took the subway to the Hu Tong Museum where we learned about Chinese culture in the Hu Tong village. Walking to the museum under the scorching heat, everyone was comforted by the building’s air conditioning and peaceful presence. After returning, students enjoyed their free time either by swimming in the pool or resting in bed before our Thursday performance. Although preparing for our class performances was at times long and nerve-racking, the product was well worth our work and filled the auditorium with laughter. After a long day of learning and experiencing Chinese culture we will all go to sleep happy, and wake up tomorrow with overflowing determination.
Today was a very exciting day, in which we unfortunately got to experience in 100 degree weather. Even with these extreme conditions, we were still able to enjoy China and all Beijing has to offer. After classes ended, we went on a group trip to an old village in the outskirts of Beijing, which gave us a good taste of what Chinese living is like. This village was nothing like any of us had seen before and its beauty left us in awe. Whether it be from the aged stone roofs or the colorful and intricate paintings on the outsides of the homes, we knew this was a special place like no other. Upon coming back to the dorm, we utilized our free time, then enjoyed each other’s company at dinner. To culminate this spectacular day, each class gave their weekly presentations summarizing all that they had learned throughout the week. This was full of many great performances and was an excellent way to end the night.