Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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6/28 Yak

         As our trip to China nears its end, the Bulldogs have become increasingly adept at navigating some of the largest cities in China. We put this experience to use yesterday. After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast, we split up into different groups to pursue any loose ends we needed to tie up. Some visited the Temple of Heaven, while others went to traditional artwork markets and more modern clothing markets. At the end of the day, we met back up as a group, following our leaders Brammy and Will through the subway of Beijing. After a long ride, we arrived at our restaurant for the evening, a restaurant called Charme that served amazing Hong Kong style food. We enjoyed a final farewell dinner with our Beijing 101 friends. After another subway ride, we finished up the day with some relaxation/free and reflection time in preparation for the end of our trip.

6/29/17 Yak

We are nearing the end of our trip! For our second to last day, we slept in a little bit for a Dim Sum brunch at the same breakfast place as yesterday. Around noon, we boarded another bus for a two hour drive to the village we are staying in currently. After settling in, we began a thirty minute hike up to the Great Wall. The views were amazing, and absolutely worth the hot and sweaty hike. Once on the wall, we explored a little bit and spent an hour of reflection time and writing letters to ourself as well as to future participants in the NA China Program. We closed out the day with a delicious dinner and some closing activities before heading to bed in preparation for the optional sunrise hike back up to the Wall - wake up time is 3:15 AM!

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6/28 and 6/29 updates

Bulldogs,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

6/28 Yak          As our trip to China nears its end, the Bulldogs have become increasingly adept at navigating some of the largest cities in China. We put this experience to use yesterday. After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast, we split up into different groups to pursue any loose ends we needed to […]

Posted On

07/1/17

Author

Bulldogs

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Winners of the "Food Challenge" proudly wearing their prizes. These adventurous young men bravely tried 16 different exotic delicacies, including scorpion, dog, various innards and weird bugs, chicken feet, stinky tofu and the dreaded durian fruit. Only a strong and pure man could survive such a challenge. Wear these shirts with pride, guys!

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Winners of the Food Challenge

Instructors,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

  Winners of the “Food Challenge” proudly wearing their prizes. These adventurous young men bravely tried 16 different exotic delicacies, including scorpion, dog, various innards and weird bugs, chicken feet, stinky tofu and the dreaded durian fruit. Only a strong and pure man could survive such a challenge. Wear these shirts with pride, guys!

Posted On

06/29/17

Author

Instructors

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    [post_content] => A farewell photo of our intrepid group of travelers from a remote section of the Great Wall.

Zaijian and safe travels!
    [post_title] => Farewell to Norfolk Academy
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Farewell to Norfolk Academy

Instructors,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

A farewell photo of our intrepid group of travelers from a remote section of the Great Wall. Zaijian and safe travels!

Posted On

06/29/17

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-28 08:58:53
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    [post_content] => We have really been enjoying our time in Beijing! Now that we are in the "expedition" phase of the program the students are starting to have more freedom and responsibility. This includes running our daily meetings, navigating through the city and having some autonomy over the daily itinerary. Before we came to Beijing, we asked the students what they most wanted to experience while in the city. High on many students' lists was reuniting with their friends, the students from Beijing 101. The Norfolk teachers connected with the Beijing 101 faculty, who arranged for us all to meet for dinner. The dinner spot was in a completely different part of the city, at least a 45 minute subway ride away. The students, with Will and Brammy as leaders of the day, rose to the challenge of navigating the Beijing subway system in order to find the dinner spot. They did really well, except for when the doors of the subway closed as we were trying to muscle our way into the car. Despite Will's valiant effort to stop the doors from closing, the train sped away, leaving four bewildered students standing on the platform. Fortunately, everyone figured their way out of that one and we all arrived at our destination in one piece. It provided a good "teachable moment" for the students improve their leadership skills and learn how to move more safely as a group. The Norfolk students and Beijing students were thrilled to see each other They enjoyed a lively dinner. I actually feelIt was a great chance for the Norfolk students to share tales of their adventures in Yunnan with their Beijing 101 friends. Longyun and I enjoyed watching how much fun the kids were having together. It is clear that they have formed friendships that transcend any barriers of language and culture. Since one of the goals of any Dragons course is to build bridges between cultures, seeing that definitely made my day. We're off to the Great Wall tomorrow. We'll spend our last night in China at a family guesthouse in a village near a wild and much less heavily touristed section on the Great Wall. We're all in good spirits and are excited for the final leg of our journey.
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Last days in Beijing

Norfolk Instructor Team,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

We have really been enjoying our time in Beijing! Now that we are in the “expedition” phase of the program the students are starting to have more freedom and responsibility. This includes running our daily meetings, navigating through the city and having some autonomy over the daily itinerary. Before we came to Beijing, we asked […]

Posted On

06/28/17

Author

Norfolk Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => An amazing feast that we enjoyed at a Dai Minority restaurant! The Dai people, who are closely related to the Thais, are one of China's 56 ethnic minorities. The pineapple fried rice was especially delicious!

Studrnts also enjoyed learning to play majiang and a night of karaoke!
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Last day in Kunming

Norfolk Instructor Team,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

An amazing feast that we enjoyed at a Dai Minority restaurant! The Dai people, who are closely related to the Thais, are one of China’s 56 ethnic minorities. The pineapple fried rice was especially delicious! Studrnts also enjoyed learning to play majiang and a night of karaoke!

Posted On

06/26/17

Author

Norfolk Instructor Team

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To begin the day, the group was sent out into the city of Kunming to find breakfast, before reconvening for the team meeting. Soon after, we headed to Green Lake park to learn about the art of taichi.

In this photo, the team leaders for the day are following the steps taught by Long Yun, one of the Dragons instructors.

Long Yun gave the group a lesson on Taichi, showing us many steps involving fluid motion of the arms and legs. After the lesson, we walked to lunch, where we ate unique food such as pineapple rice and fish eyes. From there, the group split, with some students going to the trampoline park, and the rest to the market and mall. We explored the market in search of traditional Chinese goods, and then to the mall to see the differences between authentic American companies and the fake Chinese ones. After our endeavors, we once again split into two groups: the ones who wanted a normal dinner and the ones who wanted to eat dog. Going into the dog eating experience, we all thought that we would not like it, but that was not the case. Finally, we finished our night with a little exploration of the city at night and some ice cream.

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Taichi

Norfolk Student Yak,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

To begin the day, the group was sent out into the city of Kunming to find breakfast, before reconvening for the team meeting. Soon after, we headed to Green Lake park to learn about the art of taichi. In this photo, the team leaders for the day are following the steps taught by Long Yun, […]

Posted On

06/26/17

Author

Norfolk Student Yak

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The Today marked our third day in the city of Kunming. We began our day as a group, and we headed to our first western breakfast since we had arrived in China, at Salvador's Coffee House. After the hardy breakfast, we split into two groups before our morning meeting to allow for transition time: one group headed back to the Bird and Flower market near center city, and the other group enjoyed a longer breakfast. Once our morning meeting was complete, the group left to learn how to play Ma jiang. We taxied to a retirement center where we learned the traditional Chinese game through instruction and observation.

After the lesson and several games, the group enjoyed a Muslim-style lunch, consisting of food ranging from chicken stomach to chicken brain. Post-lunch, some members of the group traveled to the outskirts of Kunming for an archery lesson at KMAC, while others enjoyed a leisurely trip to the city's markets.

Around 6 p.m., the group reconvened at Golden Eagle's Fei Yang for a hibachi style dinner. Sebastian got a chance to serve as a sous chef and even earned a chef's hat!

The teachers hinted at an after dinner surprise, and sure enough, they led us up to the top floor to Kunming's premier karaoke bar:  Windsor, KTV. Teaming up with one another, we sang the night away to various genres of songs and closed out our stay in Kunming in style!

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Day 3 in Kunming

Mihir & Neil,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

The Today marked our third day in the city of Kunming. We began our day as a group, and we headed to our first western breakfast since we had arrived in China, at Salvador’s Coffee House. After the hardy breakfast, we split into two groups before our morning meeting to allow for transition time: one […]

Posted On

06/26/17

Author

Mihir & Neil

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We woke up bright and early after a successful train ride from Lijiang to Kunming. We taxied from the Kunming train station to our comfy hostel and then proceeded to eat a fresh, local breakfast from vendors in a local market. Stomachs filled, we gathered back at the hostel and learned about our scavenger hunt. The hunt would push us to get out of our comfort zone and freely explore the city of Kunming. Through the hunt, we learned more about the culture of Kunming by eating a local lunch, viewing historical landmarks, and making new friends. After a successful activity, points were tallied and Team Jayda came out on top! They were rewarded with smoothies and other snacks. We then went to a local restaurant, one of Katie's old favorites, and enjoyed our first night in Kunming with friends and good food. We ended the day by returning to the hostel and relaxing with some ping-pong and pool before heading to bed.

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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

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Kunming

Student Group,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

We woke up bright and early after a successful train ride from Lijiang to Kunming. We taxied from the Kunming train station to our comfy hostel and then proceeded to eat a fresh, local breakfast from vendors in a local market. Stomachs filled, we gathered back at the hostel and learned about our scavenger hunt. […]

Posted On

06/24/17

Author

Student Group

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-24 14:46:56
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    [post_content] => 

Tuesday was our last full day in Phnom Penh and due to last-minute rescheduling, we had an almost completely full free day ahead of us. However, the day before, a representative from DC-Cam had told us that the hearings of Case 002/02 of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Cambodian and international court trying the high-ranking members of the Khmer Rouge for Cambodian and international crimes committed from 1975-79, were wrapping up this week after more than 2.5 years and 270+ days in court. Many of the members of our group were interested in witnessing the court proceedings, but we knew it was unlikely that we would be able to go. However, after some research, Yut, our beloved instructor pulled through (as always) and obtained permission to attend the hearing on Tuesday.

For some background, Case 002/02 is the trial of the former Head of State of Democratic Kompuches (DK), Khieu Sampan, and former DK National Assembly Chairman and Deputy Secretary of the DK Communist Party, Nuon, Chea. In this case, the two defendants are charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions due to their involvement in genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese, forced marriage and rape in order to increase Cambodia’s population, internal purges, security centers such as S-21, and poor treatment of Buddhists and former Khmer Republic officials.

On Tuesday, after a meeting with Thavry, our home-stay coordinator, and a quick brunch, we hopped into our tuk-tuks and headed toward the court. It was pretty far from the heart of Phnom Penh, and it took us close to an hour to get to the large ECCC building, hidden by a long driveway and guarded by military personnel. Outside of the building we picked up visitor badges and went through a security line, leaving cameras and other devices checked at the entrance to be picked up after. We were then ushered to an outdoor seating area where we were required to leave our bags before we entered the building. We were only allowed to bring our journals and wallets inside. Sadly, we were unaware that the courtroom had a dress code. So, being the only member of our party not wearing long pants or a skirt, Mr. Okpalugo was not allowed to be with us inside the courtroom and instead witnessed the court proceedings live-streamed int he press room with the journalists.

Inside the building, we had to go through one more security checkpoint. Once inside, we were all given headsets that provided the translations in Khmer, English, and French. All of the observers’ seats faced a glass wall that separated us from the actual court proceedings. It was a fairly large courtroom, with the prosecution team sitting in 3 rows of ~10 people to our left and the defense team to our right. The group of Cambodian and international judges sat elevated against the far wall facing us. Though the trial was wrapping up, not many of the observers’ seats were taken, and we were lucky to be in a space that wasn't overrun by tourists.

 

The proceedings began at 1:30 p.m. and were the continuation of the closing briefs of the co-defense counsels from the previous day. The first counsel, defending Chea, who spoke in Khmer, argued that there was not enough evidence to support the claim that marriage was forced on a national level under the Khmer Rouge. He also emphasized the point that Cambodian marriage cannot be compared to western marriages, as, at the time, marriage in Cambodian culture was decided by the parents of the two spouses. During the time of the Khmer Rouge, forced marriages were not unusual. It was fascinating for us to see the arguments, as, until now, we mainly focused on the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. The lawyer was very repetitive and not very engaging.

After about an hour, the courts took a brief recess, giving us time to go outside and get some water. We then returned to our seats to hear the co-defense counsel representing Samphan. She was a woman who spoke French (thought we listened to the English translation). She urged the court to remember that "the Cold War was in full" at the time, causing tension between Cambodia and Vietnam. She argued that, throughout the trial, the prosecution presented one-sided evidence and framed evidence incorrectly. She was also somewhat repetitive, but she seemed more confident and was easier to listen to than her co-counsel.

It was very interesting for us to be able to hear these arguments in support of the actions of the Khmer Rouge personnel when we were well aware that these leaders had been involved in extremely horrific events. It was incredible that we were able to see the defendants sitting in the court. Though we did not get to hear the arguments of the prosecution, which would have been fascinating, it was a truly amazing, and cone-in-a-lifetime experience to sit in on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal after learning about Cambodian history during our travels. It was an awe-inspiring way to wrap up our stay in Phnom Penh.

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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China, PARTNERSHIP: Thacher Cambodia

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Witnessing the Trial for Case 002/02

Will,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China, PARTNERSHIP: Thacher Cambodia

Description

Tuesday was our last full day in Phnom Penh and due to last-minute rescheduling, we had an almost completely full free day ahead of us. However, the day before, a representative from DC-Cam had told us that the hearings of Case 002/02 of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Cambodian and […]

Posted On

06/24/17

Author

Will

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    [post_content] => After spending the morning with our homestay families, we said our goodbyes to our families and debriefed for the day ahead. Then we headed to Lijiang to explore. We split up into groups and ventured around the old town. Some of us bought gifts for our families, while others bought odd, new foods like scorpion, mealworm, and other strange flies. To encourage our cultural exploration the teachers and instructors created a weird food challenge. Surprisingly many of us decided to eat these strange foods. By the end of the night over half of us had eaten all of the weird foods presented to us. After a few more hours of exploring the old town, we rested and sat down for dinner. Many of us had foods like lamb or octopus tentacle on a stick. Some, however, opted for more simple foods. After dinner we headed to the train station. We then boarded the overnight train from Lijiang to Kunming. For many of us it was a new experience that was hard to get used to. However, we woke up with a positive spirit, prepared for the day ahead.
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Adventures!

Sebastian,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk China

Description

After spending the morning with our homestay families, we said our goodbyes to our families and debriefed for the day ahead. Then we headed to Lijiang to explore. We split up into groups and ventured around the old town. Some of us bought gifts for our families, while others bought odd, new foods like scorpion, […]

Posted On

06/24/17

Author

Sebastian

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