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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010


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Arriving in quiet Nan Yao was a deep sigh of relief for many, and a moment of panic for me as I watched the students depart our group for the first time to stay with their host families. I saw excitement and anxiety—fear of not being able to express their needs to their new hosts. Yet, after only an evening all my fears have been ameliorated by their smiles and stories as they shuffled in to our morning meeting the next day. These students have impressed me with their courage and resourcefulness as they settle into a completely different way of living. They are more than I could have hoped for in students. They are intelligent, curious, dignified, reliable and carry themselves with grace, despite the new and unknown things that surround and overwhelm them on a daily basis.

Thanks to all.

Lauren of the I-team

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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From the balcony

Lauren Callaway,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

Arriving in quiet Nan Yao was a deep sigh of relief for many, and a moment of panic for me as I watched the students depart our group for the first time to stay with their host families. I saw excitement and anxiety—fear of not being able to express their needs to their new hosts. […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Lauren Callaway

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Two short days ago, we left Kunming on a night train, beginning our journey to Lashihai. The rooms within the train were cosy with room only for 4 people and their backpacks. Despite the movement and noise, everyone slept well on account of our long and tiring day.

The next morning, we arrived in Lijiang, a city just outside of Lashihai. After eating, we took two different van rides to the small town of Lashihai. Immediately after entering the house of the instructors’ home stay family, we were given plums, peaches, nuts, and tea. Not long afterwards, each student was introduced to his or her home stay families. Everyone was a little nervous about the whole experience, especially the language barrier since the families spoke their own dialect in addition to mandarin. We soon found out, though, that we all had a way of communicating and were welcomed into families’ homes with open arms.

Everyone soon discovered the families’ love of feeding everyone. If you finished what was in your bowl, more food would be inside within 10 seconds. The food here is delicious and we often have a hard time deciding when to stop eating.

The next day, we all met in the morning and had a small tour around the town in order to see where everyone is staying. Inside the school were we will be having our Chinese lessons, Mark gave us a lesson on the positives and negatives of photography. Later, we were instructed to go out, in groups of 3 and speak to the townspeople where afterwards, we were to ask if we could take a picture with them.

The purpose of this exercise is to create a story behind a picture rather than just have a picture of a random person or place. This experience changed the way we all saw taking pictures! Having a story behind something as simple as a picture makes the experience so much more memorable and meaningful. We soon found ourselves playing with young children; chasing them around and watching as they went down a slide. Although the children were slightly intimidated by our appearance, they were friendly and if given the chance, would have played with us for hours; their energy seemed endless.

Returning to our home stay families for lunch, we were again, stuffed with delicious food. We were ushered back to the school where Chinese lessons flew by and before we knew it, we went home again to be fed!

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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From Urban to Rural

Abigail Hsieh,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

Two short days ago, we left Kunming on a night train, beginning our journey to Lashihai. The rooms within the train were cosy with room only for 4 people and their backpacks. Despite the movement and noise, everyone slept well on account of our long and tiring day. The next morning, we arrived in Lijiang, […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Abigail Hsieh

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Imagine this. We are sitting around in a circle eating the fresh fruit just picked from the trees when our new adventure begins.

The home-stay parents file in one by one to pick up their new “children”. There is definitely an air of nerves not only from the students but also from the new “parents”. However, although you may feel like this is a negative description it is not. In order to describe how positive this experience truly is I am going to give you a little analogy.

Currently, I am eating a walnut. A walnut you say? How will that explain my situation you say? Well, that's what I will explain to you. As you may or may not know a walnut has an extremely hard shell. We are trying to live our lives with a hard shell and never leave our comfort zone. The only way for the walnut to grow is if it can break its outer shell. Therefore, for us to thrive we need to break our shell and let ourselves experience new and different things. We all then get whisked away, one by one, towards our new life for the next 10 days. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure everyone feels the same. The local villagers are some of the nicest people that I have met. From the first second I was in my new house, more food than I have ever seen was shoved towards me. Even when I can not understand them, I always know this experience is for the best and it is the best way to learn the language. [post_title] => Imagine this... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => imagine-this [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-07-07 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2010-07-07 06:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=47648 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 374 [name] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 [slug] => china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 374 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 374 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 )

China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Imagine this…

Josh Alswang,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

Imagine this. We are sitting around in a circle eating the fresh fruit just picked from the trees when our new adventure begins. The home-stay parents file in one by one to pick up their new “children”. There is definitely an air of nerves not only from the students but also from the new “parents”. […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Josh Alswang

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    [post_content] => As we boarded the train to Lijiang, waves of excitement washed over me. I was excited to be on a sleeper train, excited to be in a rural Chinese village, and excited to take thousands of pictures. While the train moved through Chinese cities, its headlights gleamed, and broke through the darkness, illuminating the quiet countryside. We woke up to the train pulling into the small, crowded station, and had less than five minutes to get off. Then, we drove into Lijiang and walked through the streets and markets, trying to absorb all the culture. It was a little overwhelming trying to take in all the food and color and excitement. After walking for a while, we got into mini-vans and drove up to Lashihai. 

Meeting our homestay families was very intimidating. My homestay sister picked me up and walked me down to her house, and then told me she was leaving for school and would not be here for the duration of my trip. If I wasn’t nervous before, I was definitely nervous then. I spent some time unpacking and then walked outside into my family’s courtyard to look around. I met my homestay grandfather working in the chicken coop. He showed me around their house, and how to get to the toilet (through the chicken coop and the water buffalo pen). I sat outside and wrote in my journal for a little while, until my homestay grandfather brought out a chicken and put it on my lap. I then proceeded to pet the chicken for fifteen minutes. It was a very new experience.

This morning we walked around the village, and then Mark gave us a lesson in the deeper meaning of photography, how if approached in the incorrect way can be an invasion of privacy, or exploiting, while asking to take a picture and connecting on a different level with someone can be a form of communication and inspirational. After our lesson we were sent into the village to take pictures of people, and learn their stories. I really enjoyed this lesson because I love photography, but also because it gave me a new perspective on how to go about taking pictures, and how to get a greater significance from a photo. After our activity we went and played with the local school children, and had a lot of fun! [post_title] => Journey to Lashihai [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => journey-to-lashihai [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-07-07 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=47649 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 374 [name] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 [slug] => china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 374 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 374 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/china-language-intensive-4-week-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010 )

China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Journey to Lashihai

Zoe Ingram,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

As we boarded the train to Lijiang, waves of excitement washed over me. I was excited to be on a sleeper train, excited to be in a rural Chinese village, and excited to take thousands of pictures. While the train moved through Chinese cities, its headlights gleamed, and broke through the darkness, illuminating the quiet […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Zoe Ingram

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So it appears that this yak was never uploaded because of some internet problem at the local Wang Ba (internet bar) in Beijing. However the original yak was as follows....

Beijing is a whirlwind of activity. Behind the slow pace and mild demeanor of its inhabitants lies a society that is constantly in motion. While this frenetic city could be a bit disorienting at times, we were always helped and welcomedby the amiable locals. From our first few hours in this amazing city whenan incredibly friendly parking lot attendant struck up a conversation with us to when we arrived lateat our hostel by the wall and the hostel's owners stayed up way past their usual bedtime to prepare us dinner, this widespread congeniality has made the trip much more enjoyable and the transition to a new culture easier. However after these last few hectic and action-packed days i find myself eagerly awaiting the slow and quiet lifestyle that awaits us in Nan Yao village.

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Chinese Hospitality and a crummy Wang Ba

Evan Barley-Greenfield,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

So it appears that this yak was never uploaded because of some internet problem at the local Wang Ba (internet bar) in Beijing. However the original yak was as follows…. Beijing is a whirlwind of activity. Behind the slow pace and mild demeanor of its inhabitants lies a society that is constantly in motion. While […]

Posted On

07/4/10

Author

Evan Barley-Greenfield

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They say that it is the will of the people that makes a country strong. A united nation is a formidable opponent. And as we stood in Tiananmen Square, the feeling behind this statement seemed to grow in stature. The square itself was big, larger than I had expected. A tall pillar monument in the center, with government buildings trimming the sides. And, of course, the Forbidden City decorating one end with Mao's portrait looking vacantly out over the groups of tourists that perused the square like small groups of dust bunnies, tumbling from one edge to the other without any sense of purpose. The important areas were roped off, with a flimsy chain or red ribbon. Delicate things, yet they held so much power. As well, there was slices of grass, yet no one sat on them. Subtle things like this were pointed out to us, and it makes one think. This place holds such importance that even the most gossamer of barriers would never be penetrated. It shows power, certainly, but to whom does this power belong too? The government? The people? Or the departed Mao? It boggles the mind, that such unspoken rules are explicitly followed.

After that, we returned to the airport. It sometimes feels as though we have spent more time flying than on the ground. We boarded a plane for Kunming and took off. We had an assignment for the plane ride: to gather ten vocabulary words to present. And then we were in Kunming. The weather here is a beautiful thing, after the boiling streets of Beijing. Although apparently it rains quite a bit here. We saw lightning in the clouds on the way in, very beautiful.

We started our classes the next morning. At the program house(which has perfect feng shui), we divided into groups and began to learn. The doorbell to the building sounds like 'It's a Small World After All'. And somewhere nearby, someone was playing a Chinese instrument that sounded similar to a saxophone. Perhaps it was one.

After classes and lunch, we went on a scavenger hunt all over Kunming. Accents vary greatly here, and several people had no idea what we were saying. But all were very, very kind.

We also had a lesson on culture shock. All things considered, the culture here is very different. But it is also very similar. Seeing theses differences, like the eclectic mix of architecture in Beijing, or the way the Chinese interact make it special. China is a mixture of old and new, a slapdash arrangement of civility and friendliness. It is a culture shock, but more of static electricity than the lightning bolt usually associated with such tender emotions. It's constant, small, and a bit painful at times, but the longer it gets you, the more prepared you are for the next shock. Yet there is still a somewhat unpleasant jerk, no matter what. That's what being in China is like. Static electricity, or flash lightning. Quick, constant and beautiful, yet just a tad painful.

-Abby

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Lightning

Abigail Mendez,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

They say that it is the will of the people that makes a country strong. A united nation is a formidable opponent. And as we stood in Tiananmen Square, the feeling behind this statement seemed to grow in stature. The square itself was big, larger than I had expected. A tall pillar monument in the […]

Posted On

07/4/10

Author

Abigail Mendez

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My dear friend Audrey once said... "Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use." I believe thoroughly that that quotation defines our experience. Yesterday was the scavenger hunt. Together in small groups, we threw ourselves into the streets of Kunming with little more than some money and our herculian spirits. Each student's Chinese is different from the next student. Some can communicate and for some, yesterday was their first day. We had three hours to attempt to complete 11 tasks. Sounds simple right? Well, you are wrong. As we used our fractured Chinese to get small tidbits of information from the locals, we fluctuatedbetween the highs of success and the agonizing failure of mispronouncing words and getting led in the wrong direction. The tasks ranged from the easy end of calling an instructorfrom a public phone to the extreme difficulty of getting a bank to give us a discontinued 1 fen coin. In my particular group we had heightened difficulty. First of all we were trying to find the major bookstore as one of the tasks. We were led in every different direction and in every which way. We finally got a Chinese lady to "lead" us to the destination. What a suprise. She misunderstood us and led us to the wrong bookstore. Our group was so frustrated we had to take an ice cream break to relax. Finally we were able to pick ourselves back upand eventually locate the store. The fact that we struggled made it all more meaningful when were achieved our goal. Now let's go back to Audrey's quotation. This experience is an exact example. Our struggle and need for courage has made us stronger and we will be able to prevail easier in the future. Today is our last day in Kunming. Tonight we take a train to LiJiang and from there we take a bus to NanYaoCun which is in LaShiHai to begin our home stay. We will be able to use the lesson taught to us by Audrey to our advantage here. Many students are slightly nervous but at the same time thrilled. If they can take what Audrey has to say to heart we all can take this once in a lifetime experience for all it's worth.

P.S. The quotation is actually by Ruth Gordon. Audrey got scared we would be arrested for copyright infringement.

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Our Adventure in the Unknown

Writer #2,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

My dear friend Audrey once said… "Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use." I believe thoroughly that that quotation defines our experience. Yesterday was the scavenger hunt. Together in small groups, we threw ourselves into the streets of Kunming with little more than some money and our herculian spirits. Each student’s Chinese […]

Posted On

07/4/10

Author

Writer #2

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    [post_date] => 2010-07-02 00:00:00
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2 nights ago, we drove to a small town near a section of the Great Wall. In the town, we stayed with a family who very kindly opened their home to us. They fed us amazing food. I really liked the sleeping arrangements; all the boys in one room and all the girls in another room.

The next day we trekked a section of the Great Wall that was overgrown with many different kinds of plants. They were mostly green bushes and shrubs. The hike up to the wall was brutal, up the side of the mountain which meant a steep and rocky slope. We stopped often and when we could find shade. I really enjoyed the constant reminder to drink water (although i don't think i would have needed the reminder because it was so hot) Once on the wall we took a nic rest that was much needed by everyone. Trekking the wall itself was amazing. Unlike my experience with my family, i could see far into the distance and the view was breath-taking. I have some amazing pictures. I think that I drank more water that day than I usually do in at least 3 days back home!

We were graciously given dinner by the same family before we left. Like bfore, the food was delicious. Somewhat sad to leave, we all piled into vans to go back to Beijing. By the time we got back to the Hostel, everyone was exhaused and either sleeping or so tired they couldn't think straight.

Today we are going to visit Tiananmen square and if time allows, the Olympic Village. This evening we will take a flight to Kunming.

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Day by the Great Wall

Abigail Hsieh,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

2 nights ago, we drove to a small town near a section of the Great Wall. In the town, we stayed with a family who very kindly opened their home to us. They fed us amazing food. I really liked the sleeping arrangements; all the boys in one room and all the girls in another […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Abigail Hsieh

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Two days ago, we took a bus, train, and taxi cabs to get to a hostel on the outside of Beijing so we could trek on the Great Wall. The bus and train were fun rides, really clean and fastand a good opportunity to talk to everyone. But hiring a taxi was definitely one of the more fun things we've done so far. The instructors spent about 25 minutes haggling with the taxi drivers to pay as little as possible, and when they wouldn't go down they sent me and a few others to go haggle with other drivers to see if we could do better, saying "itis the most intense haggling we would ever do". We did. It was awesome. We stayed in the hostel, where there were really nice people who fed us lots of food (LOTS of food), which was really good. We trekked on the Great Wall the next day, in an area not open to tourists. We had to take a dirt trail up to the wall, and it was blistering hot and we probably walked 30% of the time and took breaks the rest. But we got there, and it was gorgeous. The wall was overgrown with plants, and we had to push through them to hike on it. It was really cool, much different than trekking on a tourist area, and im my opinion much more fun. It took us 7 hours to go up, walk there, and come down. It was a lot of walking, but we rested a lot and I was never tired (but that might be because I took a powernap in one of the towers when we were supposed to be reflecting or journalling. Whatever.) It's only been three days, butI feel like I've known everyone for weeks; our group gets along really well, we work well together, and the trek was just a way for us to learn more about each other. We explore Beijing today and fly to Kunming tonight, which I'm really excited about. Kunming should be awesome.

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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Around Beijing

Prajit Gopal,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

Two days ago, we took a bus, train, and taxi cabs to get to a hostel on the outside of Beijing so we could trek on the Great Wall. The bus and train were fun rides, really clean and fastand a good opportunity to talk to everyone. But hiring a taxi was definitely one of […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Prajit Gopal

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    [post_content] => 

Smooth stone of courtyard steps meets my feet as I wake to wash. Water refreshes, I gather my coat and bag and leave our humble home for the village street. The day has not yet broken; thestreets have yet to wake. Firewood bundled roadside, chickens in or out of coop, clotheslines dressed, day is near. Light beckons from behind the mountains, giving warmth and life to those who answer its call. The sun makes golden the hills, whose spine runs illuminated through folds of green. The village and the wall entered the landscape as one, and now wake as the land does wake.

A farmer pushes his cart from his home to the field across; I offer"zao" and he replies the same. He readies himself for his work, to sustain his family as he has done and will do for many years. Small birds gather in the street. A dog approaches me, offers a greeting by nose, and returns to his post near his home. I, too,find my post, on the porch of our famer's dwelling. The lady of the house greets me and starts a small cook fire in the corner's stove. The smokekeeps the flies at bay. From here I can watch the streets, which fill with villagers in cars, on motorbikes or on foot. I watch as the village wakes, and the sun comes over the mountain top and warms my back.

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China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

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In our wake

Sarah Comstock,China Language Intensive (4 week), Summer 2010

Description

Smooth stone of courtyard steps meets my feet as I wake to wash. Water refreshes, I gather my coat and bag and leave our humble home for the village street. The day has not yet broken; thestreets have yet to wake. Firewood bundled roadside, chickens in or out of coop, clotheslines dressed, day is near. […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Sarah Comstock

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