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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China


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    [post_content] => Right now, I'm lying on a bed comprised of a stone mattress. This is in the rural village of Xiangshuihu. Xiangshuihu is located 80 km north of Beijing, about two hours by car. That being said, this place is small and old; so small, in fact, that none of our host students had ever heard of this place. This town is also incredibly old, founded in 1404. This area definitely epitomizes what one may think when thinking of China: small houses with acres of fields surrounding the town and the Great Wall on the mountain ridges off in the distance. The house the group is sleeping in tonight and tomorrow night has been converted into almost a motel designed to house Beijingers who want to experience working a more earnest lifestyle than their comfortable lives back home. The family is extremely nice, and I hope that the rest of China is going to be like this.
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Xiangshuihu History

Sammy DeLorenzo,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

Right now, I’m lying on a bed comprised of a stone mattress. This is in the rural village of Xiangshuihu. Xiangshuihu is located 80 km north of Beijing, about two hours by car. That being said, this place is small and old; so small, in fact, that none of our host students had ever heard […]

Posted On

06/15/16

Author

Sammy DeLorenzo

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    [post_content] => After spending five days in the heart of Beijing, moving on to the small, rural town of Xiangshuihu near the Great Wall was a difficult transition. The two have almost completely different cultures, which we observed immediately upon our arrival. Even before we left Beijing, we asked some of our host families if they knew of Xiangshuihu, but they had no idea what we were talking about! When we were driving out of the city, we noticed a gradual change from the busy city life to a more tranquil landscape. The wide, paved streets crowded with cars, buses, bikes, carts, and pedestrians which we observed in Beijing slowly transitioned to narrow dirt paths. And the smoggy air of the city turned to a light blue sky with white clouds as we made the transition from urban to rural. On our drive, we saw lots of farmland, many trees, which was a lot different from Beijing, and even a camel! We were the only ones driving and we had to maneuver up the mountain on a narrow, unpaved road to get to the town. There weren't a lot of people outside when we got there and none of them spoke any English. In Beijing, even the subways provided English translations for passengers. Xiangshuihu is mostly an elderly community and is very small. There aren't a lot of people and it is very quiet and peaceful. I find it interesting that it is right next to the Great Wall, yet there aren't many tourists. It's an interesting contrast to the busy culture of Beijing.
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Transitioning to Rural China

Sophia Burke,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

After spending five days in the heart of Beijing, moving on to the small, rural town of Xiangshuihu near the Great Wall was a difficult transition. The two have almost completely different cultures, which we observed immediately upon our arrival. Even before we left Beijing, we asked some of our host families if they knew […]

Posted On

06/15/16

Author

Sophia Burke

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    [post_content] => Each day of our trip to China has brought with it amazing and new experiences. Monday was exactly the same. The day was both sweet and sour because, although we had to say goodbye to our exchange families, we got the opportunity to experience the everyday life of a Beijing 101 student, as well as learn to write calligraphy.

The morning started off a little rough and it's not because of the early wake up. Monday morning we had to say goodbye to our exchange families. Although we did not get the chance to stay with them for very long, we still built strong bonds and we're all sad to see this phase of the trip come to an end. Once we arrived at Beijing 101 we went to the class of our exchange student. After visiting our class, we were treated to a warm introduction from the Beijing 101 faculty, with words from Mr. Emerson as well as the school's headmaster. This would start our first day inside the walls of a Chinese school.

Monday served as the first time that we got to see the way in which the classes in China are run. Although we had a hard time understanding the teachers and the students it was very interesting to see that they learn and teach in largely the same way that we do in America. They are even studying a lot of the same topics that we are, including Algebra, Calculus, Physics, American History, and Drama. This served to bring us even closer with our exchange students because it gave us the opportunity to see them around their friends as well as relate over the topics that we had been studying. Along with this it was interesting to see the way in which the students behave in class. Unlike in America, where we are forced to pay attention in order to succeed in our classes, they have the freedom to do whatever they want during their classes and the only real requirement is that they still do well on the examinations. This allows for much more talking, joking, and of course sleeping. Taking into account all of the similarities and differences we have all gained a better understanding for Chinese culture, especially in their education system.

The final event that the school planned for us on Monday was a class on Chinese calligraphy. We learned all of the different brush strokes that are involved in calligraphy and got to select different words that we thought reflected us. After selecting and drawing these words, we were allowed to take them back to our dorms and keep them. The coolest part about this class was learning the background to their written language. Unlike English, the language is not phonetic, but rather pictographic. Each shape is a combination of simplified pictograms that represent different things. This means that each shape needs to be recognized independently of the other ones as opposed to being read. With a total of roughly 16,000 different shapes it would be impossible to learn them all. It is simply amazing that people have the mental capacity to learn enough characters to be fluent in their language.


Our first day at Beijing 101 was truly amazing. With multiple opportunities to learn more about Chinese culture and education, we were brought closer to our students and built friendships that would last a lifetime. We hope that these friendships will bring us together again in our college and professional years. All we can say is that we hope each day continues to be as amazing as these last ones have been.
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Moving in to Beijing 101

Chase Yager & Lawson Momtgomery,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

Each day of our trip to China has brought with it amazing and new experiences. Monday was exactly the same. The day was both sweet and sour because, although we had to say goodbye to our exchange families, we got the opportunity to experience the everyday life of a Beijing 101 student, as well as […]

Posted On

06/15/16

Author

Chase Yager & Lawson Momtgomery

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    [post_content] => Saturday

Weaving through traffic in the loud streets creates and awareness of the cultural differences in Beijing. Our first morning in this city was a true awakening as we experienced new foods and attempted to break the tough language barrier. The obstacles we faced made for many laughs that formed a tighter bind among the entire group. All of these components came together for an exciting first day in Beijing.



After waking up too early because of the time difference, we joined our Beijing host families in a traditional family breakfast. We navigated the subway with our exchange partners and met the rest of the group to begin our tour of the city. Our first stop was a museum about the ancient history of China. Although we couldn't understand what all of the exhibits said, we enjoyed observing the paintings and models of old Beijing that our students described for us. As our tour continued, we found it hard to avoid bikers and cars while walking through the the narrow streets. Attempting to gain an international perspective, our new friends took us to McDonalds for the Chinese McNuggets and 7-11 for a water break.  We then explored a busy street full of shops and markets. The  girls stopped at the next subway station and the boys continued to walk, as we both headed to a lake in the heart of "old Beijing".



Upon arrival at the lake, we were amazed by the beautiful architecture and scenery surrounding us. We split into groups and stepped onto our pedal-boats to explore farther down the lake. Although was strenuous at times, it was a great way to immerse ourselves in both the culture and in nature. The boys, pedaling in a separate part of the lake, had trouble while docking the boat. Sammy unfortunately missed the step onto the dock, resulting in a spill into the water and a scraped knee. The girls stopped for lunch and our exchange students ordered us delicious Chinese noodles, vegetables, and fish. After lunch, we ventures to the Prince's palace, a branch of the Forbidden City. We learned that someone's rank in society is determined by the amount of dragons they have lining the the roof of their house. In a scale from 1-9, the palace had 7, representing the importance of the Prince that resided here. The palace was full of colorful buildings and gardens and the grandness was overwhelming, making it hard to believe that it was one man's home. Once we had explored the palace, we split up to return home to spend an evening with our family.



Mackenzi and Sophie enjoyed a Korean and Mexican dinner at a restaurant named L.A. palms. Bryn and Tina shopped in the Beijing mall and had a restful evening. The group of boys stayed together for dinner by the lake, shopping, and an escape room. Sammy, on the way to dinner, left his phone in the taxi and was unable to find it. Gabi went to Penny's friend's birthday party. They ate Chinese barbecue and had a chocolate cake, similar to one from the U.S.  She enjoyed observing the similarities and differences in Chinese and American culture through this experience. Other students had similar experiences exploring parts of Beijing with their families.

These memorable adventures on day one set the tone for the rest of our trip. This initial culture shock was difficult to overcome, but none of the these experiences should be labeled as bad, but rather new adventures that benefit us as we become world travelers. Although we only have a few days left in Beijing, we are ready to make the most of our time in the city and create new memories with our friends.


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Exploring Beijing on Saturday!

Mackenzi Mills & Gabi Diskin,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

Saturday Weaving through traffic in the loud streets creates and awareness of the cultural differences in Beijing. Our first morning in this city was a true awakening as we experienced new foods and attempted to break the tough language barrier. The obstacles we faced made for many laughs that formed a tighter bind among the […]

Posted On

06/15/16

Author

Mackenzi Mills & Gabi Diskin

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    [post_content] => We woke up from our hard beds to a recording of a Chinese man shouting over the intercom, a speech which soon transitioned to some sort of opera then briefly to the Spice Girls. We rolled out of bed and went to the cafeteria where we ate breakfast and prepared to start our second day of school at Beijing 101.

Although we were slightly late to the physics lab due to its different location, we were welcomed eagerly to class and got to help our host students out with their lab on gravitational applications. We jumped right into the lab and some of us even answered the questions posed by their teacher. After physics concluded, we made our way back through the building to Chinese class. The students had to present on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature to the class, and the behavior of their peers was surprising. People were talking, doing homework, and I even saw a few kids playing soccer on their phone! The most interesting part that we observed was the teacher's reaction- she didn't react at all. The difference in class dynamic and the overall school feeling was definitely evident and fun to observe. Then we had pre calculus which was nice and familiar, because we had done the same thing literally last week in our math classes. The coolest class of the day definitely was colloquy, a class in which the students examined real world issues and their own opinions on them. The teacher assigned groups and they chose their topics- some of which included technology and its effects, drone use, and even national security and its role in the privacy of citizens.

This was our last class of the day and after we went to the Tube Station- the best pizza in Beijing! We were unsure as to how the pizza would compare to home, but the 24" pizzas (5 in total) were absolutely amazing. As we concluded our meal Emerson prepped us for our seminar about radical Islam and terrorism in the world.

We began this seminar with a video featuring the author of the book that the Chinese students all had to read called the Islamist. After a brief round of ice breakers we split into two groups where we could discuss questions that had been prepared by the 101 teachers. We learned about opinions that were not only different than ours, for conflicting opinions exist within our country alone, but also more informed than we had previously anticipated. The students made jokes about censorship, but pointed out its advantages in monitoring online radicalism. After we spent a few hours exploring problems and possible solutions to Islamic extremism, we moved to the soccer field for the third annual game between the 101 students and us.

With only two actual varsity soccer players on our team (Mackenzi and Chase) and without any cleats or goalie gloves (both of which the 101 students had) we were definitely looking like amateurs to the students in the bleachers. It started raining so hard and people started slipping and sliding (see the no cleats comments) so by the time the game concluded we were all soaked through but we all had so much fun. We ran back to the dorms and hopped into the showers which welcomed us with warm water (a recent and welcome discovery for some of us) then met the teachers from 101 and NA in front of the International Building whence we departed for dinner.

When we walked in, we were awestruck by the massive lazy Susan on the round table. Soon it was filled with more food than we could possibly imagine, and we eagerly started to eat. As dinner concluded we realized that we needed to say a final goodbye to the 101 teachers and thank them for all their work with us and this program. When we reached the dorms again we all changed into PJs and gathered in one room, all 10 of us. We continued to talk for a few hours and one by one we tiredly stumbled back to our beds, our time at Beijing 101 now over.

Tuesday 6/15

We woke up from our hard beds to a recording of a Chinese man shouting over the intercom, a speech which soon transitioned to some sort of opera then briefly to the Spice Girls. We rolled out of bed and went to the cafeteria where we ate breakfast and prepared to start our second day of school at Beijing 101.

Although we were slightly late to the physics lab due to its different location, we were welcomed eagerly to class and got to help our host students out with their lab on gravitational applications. We jumped right into the lab and some of us even answered the questions posed by their teacher. After physics concluded, we made our way back through the building to Chinese class. The students had to present on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature to the class, and the behavior of their peers was surprising. People were talking, doing homework, and I even saw a few kids playing soccer on their phone! The most interesting part that we observed was the teacher's reaction- she didn't react at all. The difference in class dynamic and the overall school feeling was definitely evident and fun to observe. Then we had pre calculus which was nice and familiar, because we had done the same thing literally last week in our math classes. The coolest class of the day definitely was colloquy, a class in which the students examined real world issues and their own opinions on them. The teacher assigned groups and they chose their topics- some of which included technology and its effects, drone use, and even national security and its role in the privacy of citizens.

This was our last class of the day and after we went to the Tube Station- the best pizza in Beijing! We were unsure as to how the pizza would compare to home, but the 24" pizzas (5 in total) were absolutely amazing. As we concluded our meal Emerson prepped us for our seminar about radical Islam and terrorism in the world.

We began this seminar with a video featuring the author of the book that the Chinese students all had to read called the Islamist. After a brief round of ice breakers we split into two groups where we could discuss questions that had been prepared by the 101 teachers. We learned about opinions that were not only different than ours, for conflicting opinions exist within our country alone, but also more informed than we had previously anticipated. The students made jokes about censorship, but pointed out its advantages in monitoring online radicalism. After we spent a few hours exploring problems and possible solutions to Islamic extremism, we moved to the soccer field for the third annual game between the 101 students and us.

With only two actual varsity soccer players on our team (Mackenzi and Chase) and without any cleats or goalie gloves (both of which the 101 students had) we were definitely looking like amateurs to the students in the bleachers. It started raining so hard and people started slipping and sliding (see the no cleats comments) so by the time the game concluded we were all soaked through but we all had so much fun. We ran back to the dorms and hopped into the showers which welcomed us with warm water (a recent and welcome discovery for some of us) then met the teachers from 101 and NA in front of the International Building whence we departed for dinner.

When we walked in, we were awestruck by the massive lazy Susan on the round table. Soon it was filled with more food than we could possibly imagine, and we eagerly started to eat. As dinner concluded we realized that we needed to say a final goodbye to the 101 teachers and thank them for all their work with us and this program. When we reached the dorms again we all changed into PJs and gathered in one room, all 10 of us. We continued to talk for a few hours and one by one we tiredly stumbled back to our beds, our time at Beijing 101 now over.

Tuesday 6/15

We woke up from our hard beds to a recording of a Chinese man shouting over the intercom, a speech which soon transitioned to some sort of opera then briefly to the Spice Girls. We rolled out of bed and went to the cafeteria where we ate breakfast and prepared to start our second day of school at Beijing 101.

Although we were slightly late to the physics lab due to its different location, we were welcomed eagerly to class and got to help our host students out with their lab on gravitational applications. We jumped right into the lab and some of us even answered the questions posed by their teacher. After physics concluded, we made our way back through the building to Chinese class. The students had to present on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature to the class, and the behavior of their peers was surprising. People were talking, doing homework, and I even saw a few kids playing soccer on their phone! The most interesting part that we observed was the teacher's reaction- she didn't react at all. The difference in class dynamic and the overall school feeling was definitely evident and fun to observe. Then we had pre calculus which was nice and familiar, because we had done the same thing literally last week in our math classes. The coolest class of the day definitely was colloquy, a class in which the students examined real world issues and their own opinions on them. The teacher assigned groups and they chose their topics- some of which included technology and its effects, drone use, and even national security and its role in the privacy of citizens.

This was our last class of the day and after we went to the Tube Station- the best pizza in Beijing! We were unsure as to how the pizza would compare to home, but the 24" pizzas (5 in total) were absolutely amazing. As we concluded our meal Emerson prepped us for our seminar about radical Islam and terrorism in the world.

We began this seminar with a video featuring the author of the book that the Chinese students all had to read called the Islamist. After a brief round of ice breakers we split into two groups where we could discuss questions that had been prepared by the 101 teachers. We learned about opinions that were not only different than ours, for conflicting opinions exist within our country alone, but also more informed than we had previously anticipated. The students made jokes about censorship, but pointed out its advantages in monitoring online radicalism. After we spent a few hours exploring problems and possible solutions to Islamic extremism, we moved to the soccer field for the third annual game between the 101 students and us.

With only two actual varsity soccer players on our team (Mackenzi and Chase) and without any cleats or goalie gloves (both of which the 101 students had) we were definitely looking like amateurs to the students in the bleachers. It started raining so hard and people started slipping and sliding (see the no cleats comments) so by the time the game concluded we were all soaked through but we all had so much fun. We ran back to the dorms and hopped into the showers which welcomed us with warm water (a recent and welcome discovery for some of us) then met the teachers from 101 and NA in front of the International Building whence we departed for dinner.

When we walked in, we were awestruck by the massive lazy Susan on the round table. Soon it was filled with more food than we could possibly imagine, and we eagerly started to eat. As dinner concluded we realized that we needed to say a final goodbye to the 101 teachers and thank them for all their work with us and this program. When we reached the dorms again we all changed into PJs and gathered in one room, all 10 of us. We continued to talk for a few hours and one by one we tiredly stumbled back to our beds, our time at Beijing 101 now over.

 
    [post_title] => Last Day in Beijing
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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

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Last Day in Beijing

Claire,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

We woke up from our hard beds to a recording of a Chinese man shouting over the intercom, a speech which soon transitioned to some sort of opera then briefly to the Spice Girls. We rolled out of bed and went to the cafeteria where we ate breakfast and prepared to start our second day […]

Posted On

06/15/16

Author

Claire

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    [post_date] => 2016-06-13 17:18:34
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 你好 (ni hao) from Beijing!

Daniel and I landed yesterday to cloudy skies here in Beijing which usually means better air quality and potentially blue skies to come. Hooray!

We will be meeting up with the students Wednesday AM, and they are now with Nick and Sarah participating in a homestay with students from Beijing 101, one of the most prestigious high schools in the country.

We’re excited to share our most current trip itinerary for all you loved ones back at home.

Date            Day #       Location

                        0          Group with Beijing 101

15-Jun Wed    1          Beijing – Xiangshuihu (Great Wall)

16-Jun Thurs   2          Xiangshuihu (Great Wall)

17-Jun Fri        3          Xiangshuihu – Lijiang (Travel and Leadership Activities Day)

18-Jun Sat       4          Lijiang

19-Jun Sun      5          Hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge

20-Jun Mon     6          Hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge

21-Jun Tues    7          Lashihai homestays

22-Jun Wed    8          Lashihai homestays

23-Jun Thurs   9          Lashihai homestays

24-Jun Fri        10        Lashihai homestays

25-Jun Sat       11        Lashihai homestays

26-Jun Sun      12        Lashihai homestays

27-Jun Mon     13        Kunming

28-Jun Tues    14        Kunming

29-Jun Wed    15        Kunming

30-Jun Thurs   16        Beijing/flight home

Should you need to contact us, we can be reached at the below Chinese phone numbers. Please respect your loved one’s adventure time and only reach out if truly necessary. We will work to keep you updated with field notes on a daily basis so you’ll always know what’s going on.

Warm wishes,

Martha and Daniel

Daniel: (+86) 157-2668-3442

Martha: (+86) 132-698-01884

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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

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Hello from Beijing!

Martha Gilbert,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

 你好 (ni hao) from Beijing! Daniel and I landed yesterday to cloudy skies here in Beijing which usually means better air quality and potentially blue skies to come. Hooray! We will be meeting up with the students Wednesday AM, and they are now with Nick and Sarah participating in a homestay with students from Beijing […]

Posted On

06/13/16

Author

Martha Gilbert

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    [post_content] => We began the meeting with our normal rose and thorn activity, and then we listened to our historian, Sammy, explain to us the history of some of Beijing's most famous sites. This included the Forbidden City, Olympic Stadium, and Tiananmen square. Then we looked at our inner character through a short quiz that assessed for character traits: Amiable, Expressive, Driver, and Analytical. After separating into groups based on traits, we discussed how each trait could function in a group. Also, we discussed how knowing who has what trait can be very important in how we will work together and handle conflicts.
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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

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China Meeting Blog 5/27

Lawson Montgomery,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

We began the meeting with our normal rose and thorn activity, and then we listened to our historian, Sammy, explain to us the history of some of Beijing’s most famous sites. This included the Forbidden City, Olympic Stadium, and Tiananmen square. Then we looked at our inner character through a short quiz that assessed for […]

Posted On

05/29/16

Author

Lawson Montgomery

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    [post_content] => Our last meeting was spent skypeing our trip leaders Martha and Daniel. We broke the ice by going through our usual rose thorn activity. We introduced ourselves and listened as they talked a little about their own experiences and favorites in China. The meeting was filled with much excitement and question asking about our quickly approaching trip and ended with some helpful tips to keep in mind like printing out pictures from home to share with our host families!
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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

View post

China Meeting Blog Post 5/19

Mackenzi Mills,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

Our last meeting was spent skypeing our trip leaders Martha and Daniel. We broke the ice by going through our usual rose thorn activity. We introduced ourselves and listened as they talked a little about their own experiences and favorites in China. The meeting was filled with much excitement and question asking about our quickly […]

Posted On

05/26/16

Author

Mackenzi Mills

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    [post_date] => 2016-05-16 19:23:15
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    [post_content] => We all had a really great meeting this last week, starting with our usual rose-thorn activity to see how everyone was doing and everyone is getting excited for the upcoming trip! The bulk of the meeting was spent doing a group leadership exercise in which we all had to support a pole with our fingers and slowly move it toward the ground without ever releasing it. Though this task sounds simple enough we realized early on that it wasn't going to be so easy. After completing the task we had an opportunity to reflect on what made the challenge so difficult and the general consensus was that communication is the hardest part of completing a task. The people on opposite ends of the pole had to coordinate their movements in order to prevent the tilting of the stick one way or another. On top of this we decided that when things appear to be going south, you need to keep yourself from panicking and react calmly to the situation presented to you, this way you don't actually end up making the problem worse, but rather continue working towards your ultimate goal. Can't wait for our next meeting and the opportunity to be introduced to our guides from Where There Be Dragons!

-Chase Yager
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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

View post

China Meeting 5/13/2016

Chase Yager,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

We all had a really great meeting this last week, starting with our usual rose-thorn activity to see how everyone was doing and everyone is getting excited for the upcoming trip! The bulk of the meeting was spent doing a group leadership exercise in which we all had to support a pole with our fingers […]

Posted On

05/16/16

Author

Chase Yager

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    [post_date] => 2016-05-07 02:18:03
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    [post_content] => 

大家好!

This is my second year working with Norfolk Academy, and I am so excited to explore China with you! My first exposure to China was on a community service-based summer trip in 1999, so I fully understand how meaningful and exciting this experience will be for all of you. Were it not for my trip to China the summer before I began applying to colleges, I would not be where I am today. As an undergraduate, I double majored in Sociology and East Asian Studies, and I spent my junior year abroad at Beijing University intensively studying Mandarin Chinese. Immediately after college, I worked at an NGO in Boston coordinating youth-driven initiatives for immigrant Chinese seeking to create positive changes in the Chinatown neighborhood.

After two incredible years as the only non-Chinese staff member at my organization, I decided to return to China to help westerners get adapted to living and teaching in China. For over a year, I managed a volunteer program for WorldTeach, an International Education NGO based at Harvard University’s Center for International Development. I was the sole staff member in the country responsible for 43 American volunteer living all over Hunan Province. It was very exhausting and rewarding job.

After living in China for a few years, I decided to return to the U.S. for graduate school. A lot of my coursework and research related to economics and international development. (I really like economic theory!) While getting my M.A., I was also able to spend an academic semester studying Uyghur language and culture at Xinjiang Normal University in China’s predominantly Muslim northwest region -- be sure to ask me about my time there.

Throughout my years of formal education, I have done extensive research on a variety of topics related to China. My academic interests have no boundaries, and I have written papers on everything from classical Chinese philosophy to modern urban planning in Shanghai. Although I have read a ton of books on the country, I still find that I learn the most from speaking to common people on the streets. I encourage you to do the same!

To steal a quotation from William Butler Yeats, I am a firm believer that “education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire.” I realize that everyone on this trip will have different learning styles, so my goal will be to create a mature learning community, facilitate independent inquiry, and allow everyone to develop their own conclusions. Rather than try to fill up your “pails”, I would prefer to provide the basis for thoughts, discussion, and debates ...and then leave it up to you to figure out what the “right” answer is.

My best advice for you is to not pack too much and begin to wean yourself from any addictions you have to the internet and mobile phones. I challenge you to be completely engaged in your surroundings each moment you are in China. If you are constantly worrying about lugging around heavy bags or freaking out because you cannot connect to wifi, you will miss out on all the magnificence that is in China.

Almost everything you think you need (toiletries, clothes, etc.) is available for purchase in China at a fair price. Just bring yourself, some quality clothes, a blank journal, any medications, and printed out pictures of your friends, family, and school. (People in China love seeing pictures of “real life” in the United States! My last bit of advice is to pack as much “quick dry” cloth as you can. You’ll be washing clothing by hand and hand drying everything for a good part of the trip. “Quick dry” athletic gear will be great!

I have held residence in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California ...and for the last 6 years I have been in Charlottesville, Virginia. I currently work as a Mandarin teacher at a public high school right down the road from the University of Virginia. I absolutely love learning about new cultures, and my adventures have taken me through North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. (I even spent a good chunk of time working with the U.S. Army in Kabul, Afghanistan!) My lifelong goal is to travel to a new country every year.

When I am not working, studying, or grading papers, I enjoy running, tennis, karaoke, and reading. I am VERY excited to meet all of you in China. As I already mentioned, it was around 17 years ago that I first stepped foot on Chinese soil, and I have learned so much about this country, the world, and myself over the years. I hope that 17 years from now, you will be sitting down to type a similar letter. See you soon!

Zai Jian (“goodbye”),

Daniel Stolkowski

Course Instructor

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PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

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Greetings from Charlottesville, VA!

Daniel Stolkowski,PARTNERSHIP: Norfolk Academy China

Description

大家好! This is my second year working with Norfolk Academy, and I am so excited to explore China with you! My first exposure to China was on a community service-based summer trip in 1999, so I fully understand how meaningful and exciting this experience will be for all of you. Were it not for my […]

Posted On

05/7/16

Author

Daniel Stolkowski

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