Student exchange to China
During the summer holidays, nine boys from Years 10 and 11 (now 11 and 12) travelled to China to embark on an exchange program. The stay took place for three weeks and we were housed in the boarding dormitories of the No 2 Yizhuang Secondary School Beijing. This location was perfect for the exchange, as it engaged us within the school and promoted our use of the Chinese language. The exchange was split into two parts with school stay from Monday to Friday and homestay from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
The schooling aspect of the trip provided quite a shock to all of us. We quickly became immersed within our host school’s 14 hour days and contrasting teaching styles. Within the constant intention of developing our language, we were also treated to some extra curricular activities. The nine of us were provided with a taste of Taekwondo and it is safe to say that martial arts is not a strong suit for us as a group. We were also given the opportunity to attend a calligraphy class where we learnt the intricacies of Chinese character writing.
The homestay aspect of the trip provided us with the greatest opportunity to extend our language skills. Each weekend we travelled all over Beijing, discovering the culture of the city and using our Mandarin to converse with locals. One of the highlights of the homestay weekends was travelling to Nan Luo Gu Xiang, a long alleyway filled with small shops and an unimaginable amount of food.
This exchange was beneficial in two ways. Firstly, our understanding of the Chinese language grew in leaps and bounds due to the immersion experience. Secondly, the opportunity that we were given to meet new people with different ideas and perspectives on life, allowed us to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture. This experience is one we will never forget.
Daniel Bordina (11/ME)