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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A


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    [post_content] => The group has landed safely in LA and students are headed for onward flights and parent pick-ups. Wishing everyone a happy reunion with families and friends!

-Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

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Landed in LA!

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

The group has landed safely in LA and students are headed for onward flights and parent pick-ups. Wishing everyone a happy reunion with families and friends! -Dragons Administration

Posted On

07/28/17

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_content] => The group is now at the gate and ready to board their flight from Guangzhou to LAX, China Southern #621, scheduled to depart on time at 12:30 PM 7/28 (China time) and arrive at LAX at 11:00 AM 7/28 (Pacific time). Here they are in the Guangzhou Airport (minus Caroline, on another flight home). Students will be met at LAX by Dragons staff who will help direct them onward. Wishing everyone a safe and smooth journey home and happy reunions!

 

-Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

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Ready to fly

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

The group is now at the gate and ready to board their flight from Guangzhou to LAX, China Southern #621, scheduled to depart on time at 12:30 PM 7/28 (China time) and arrive at LAX at 11:00 AM 7/28 (Pacific time). Here they are in the Guangzhou Airport (minus Caroline, on another flight home). Students […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_content] => After an amazing four weeks, our course is over, how quickly the time has gone! We've had a reflective yet fun last few days during the transference section of the course, the highlight of which were the student and instructor skits, as well as an epic gratitude circle on the final night. This final group sharing gave everyone a chance to show their appreciation to one another for all the ways in which we've helped each other through these past four weeks, and it was an emotional farewell.

We had a crazy early start this morning, leaving our hotel at 4am, but the students made the flight smoothly, and are now in the air on the way to Guangzhou with Patricia, where they transfer for their final leg back to LA. It's been a pleasure teaching them and watching them grow, both as individuals and as a group, and we hope this trip will stay with them for many years to come.

Wishing all our students a safe journey and a happy summer and beyond...

Much love

 

The iTeam
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Final Farewells

The Instructor Team,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

After an amazing four weeks, our course is over, how quickly the time has gone! We’ve had a reflective yet fun last few days during the transference section of the course, the highlight of which were the student and instructor skits, as well as an epic gratitude circle on the final night. This final group […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

The Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => During our the second half of our course, our students were living with homestay families in Kunming. Besides their daily morning language lessons at the Dragons Program House, most afternoons were spent focusing on an Individual Study Project (ISP) of their choice. Since there was a lot of interest in cooking, four of our students worked together on this topic, with the remaining seven choosing from a wide range of both practical skills and academic questions. Here is what they studied in their own words...

Delaney: For my ISP, I chose ceramics. I take classes at school and I really wanted to learn some Chinese techniques. I did a lot of research on the transformation of ceramics through out the different dynasties and I took two classes from a local shop owner who sells pottery. We set up wheels in Green Lake Park and threw four different pieces. My teacher showed me how to carve out designs and replace it with a different colored clay to make shapes and patterns. It was a lot of fun, and I am excited to use what she taught me when I get home!

Nick: Early on when I was deciding on my ISP, I wanted to focus on a practical skill that I was familiar with to a certain degree while presenting a challenge that would be somewhat foreign to that aforementioned knowledge of the skill: my focus would land on cooking. I had already known how to cook a variety of dishes for many years now, but I had never even attempted Chinese dishes and knew near to nothing of the history behind the techniques. Throughout my experiences with the various cooks that guided me and three other cooking ISP student, I learned of the two main principles of knife and fire control, of the 8 major cuisines that dominate Chinese cooking, and was able to cook 10 dishes sourcing from the main 8 and some minor cuisines. My final ISP presentation focused on two of these cuisines, Lu and Xiang, what factors determined the tastes and ingredients of these cuisines, and eventually the preparation of a dish from each, Sixi Wanzi and Hong Shao Rou respectively. The whole experience was extremely fun and educational and I look forward to cooking some of these dishes with my family.

Caroline: My ISP was focused on the Chinese Education System -- High School life in particular. By conducting a number of interviews, I was able to learn from students and adults alike about the Gao Kao (the college entrance exam), the daily life of a student, and the general intensity of the system as a whole. Even though I realize that I cannot possibly learn everything there is to know about China in a month, I feel as though I now understand China and its youth at a much deeper level than before.

Aden: When I started the trip, I thought that I was going to do my ISP on Kung Fu, because I do taekwondo back in the states, and really enjoy it. But in the weeks leading up to the week of the ISP's, I had figured out that I was passable at hand massage, when Caroline had a hurt hand and I offered to massage it. Also, the day after the hike, we all got foot massages, and I found it fascinating. So, I talked to Sarah about it and I decided to change my ISP, two days before we started them, to traditional Chinese massage. I am very grateful that I did; Massage has proven to be something that I really think I enjoy doing and learning.  On Tuesday and Thursday, I went to a renowned blind massage parlour in Kunming, where the head masseuse and teacher there taught me a basic massage for the back, legs, arm, and head over a two-day period. When we left the parlour on the last day that I would be taking lessons from her, she said that I had been a very good student, for I seemed to pick up techniques about the same as the other two adult students in the parlour who had both been studying massage for a little bit before (which was more than me) and were interning at the local hospital for Tradition Chinese Medicine.  Massage has become something that I find I enjoy doing as well as learning, as well as something I would love to be able to continue my education about back in the states.

Pilar: Since I really enjoy sewing and often sew at home, I wanted my ISP to involve making something. I ended up going to a store that sold both qipao's (a Chinese traditional dress) and minority clothing. After discussing with the woman who ran it, I decided on making a Naxi hat, as we had just gone to Lijiang which is the home of the Naxi. Even though the overall process was time consuming, I enjoyed it and found it interesting.

Jonah: My ISP was a study in Buddhist architecture and symbolism. Prior to our week in Kunming and one visit to a monastery earlier in the trip, I knew nothing about the religion or the places where it is practiced, much less the architecture and symbols to which it pertains. However, in the short time of 8 days while in Kunming, a time that felt even shorter, I was exposed to a whole new form of religious belief and saw and learned many interesting things. In the beginning of the process, Sarah (who is very knowledgeable about Buddhism after studying it for several years) and I went to Yuantong temple, which is the main and most famous Buddhist temple in Kunming and the surrounding area. There I took pictures of different symbols and architectural features while Sarah began explaining to me a mass of complex stories and beliefs that explain why the things I saw were important to the composition of the temple. In the days that followed, aside from one day when I took pictures of buildings and frescoes in Green Lake Park that were modeled after Buddhist structures, I did my research at the program house, either on the internet or in books, in order to develop my understanding of the topic and answer questions that I had from my trip to Yuantong. My project culminated in a keynote presentation that had slides describing (with photos) the different symbols and architectural features I had researched, which I described the religious significance of to the rest of the group. My ISP process was at times challenging and frustrating, but it was also very interesting, and I am happy that I had this experience!

Julian: For my ISP, I decided to study the art of playing games! I went to a park and different game playing venues and focused on three different games Mahjong, Tuo La Ji, San Guo Sha, shen me de. I played games with the locals and asked them questions. I can't wait to teach everyone!

Clara: For my ISP I studied traditional Chinese painting. The class was very interesting because the style is so different from western painting. You barely use any color, and you hold the paintbrush straight up and down. While I had to paint very carefully--I couldn't go back over what I'd already done--the work was very meditative and peaceful.

Sophia: For my ISP, I chose to learn about Chinese cooking and Chinese recipes. Food is a large part of Chinese culture, and, even though I also chose to study Chinese cooking styles and recipes on my last dragons trip, we didn't have a lot of time to work on our ISPs. I was able to meet and cook with professional chef, Chef Li Yun, and learn three famous Chinese dishes. For the last couple of days, I have learned many more dishes with help from Patricia and Chris' homestay Dad, Mr. Zhu. I have composed a cookbook with all of the recipes and I'm so excited to share them with my family and friends when I return to the US.

Alexa: For my ISP, I chose to study Chinese cooking along with Sophia, Chris, and Nick. My focus was on the healthier side of Chinese cooking along with the exact opposite, sweet treats. I chose to study cooking because of my father and myself. My dad is an amazing chef and I look up to him very much. He taught me how to cook and helped me realize my passion for cooking. Since a young age, I remember being surrounded by the sound of my father cutting an onion, or the sweet smell of my grandmas cooking a pie. I have always been drawn to the feeling of my knife cutting the veggies or the sound of the oil when it pops. I have also always been fond of learning new styles and types of cooking and Chinese cooking has always been an interest of mine. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had here to study my passion and I hope to continue that in the US!

Maya: Because I love music, my ISP was focused on learning a traditional Chinese instrument from the huqin family, the erhu. Luckily, one of the language instructors had been playing the erhu since she was 6, so I was able to receive great instruction from her. While I faced a few challenges with the instrument, I'm so grateful to have learned so much, both about the erhu and simultaneously, Chinese history.

Chris: For my ISP, I decided to focus on Chinese cooking. Cooking was always a skill that I have been fascinated with, and being in China has given me the opportunity to develop a new style. We met with a professional chef, Li Yun, and my homestay father, Mr. Zhu. Both of these incredible cooks have so much experience in cooking, and it was so much fun to hear and learn from them. Chinese cooking is so diverse, and can differ in so many forms and styles, but working to learn the basics was extremely enjoyable for both me and my classmates, and I can’t wait to cook the dishes that I have learned to my family.

Cami:  My ISP was a video on what Chinese people think of Trump. Going in, I had a feeling the interviews would be mostly negative. I went to Yunnan University to interview people, which I had to have translated. While going through all the footage to translate was hard, I found that my results were unsurprising, but also very interesting. I really enjoyed getting a new perspective on our own country’s politics.

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Individual Study Projects (ISPs)

Sam Palmer,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

During our the second half of our course, our students were living with homestay families in Kunming. Besides their daily morning language lessons at the Dragons Program House, most afternoons were spent focusing on an Individual Study Project (ISP) of their choice. Since there was a lot of interest in cooking, four of our students […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Sam Palmer

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It’s so strange to be here at the end of the course. I feel like it went quickly, but then again, orientation also seems like a very long time ago. Now we’re here in a hostel just outside the city reflecting on our experiences.

The most inspiring moment of the trip was definitely during the hike with the brilliant blue sky and reddish cliffs. The scenery around me was not only stunning, but also utterly different from any mountains I’d seen before. The way they were shaped was completely foreign, and reminded me of Chinese paintings I’d seen in art museums.

The greatest challenge I had was hailing a cab on my own in Kunming when there were few to begin with due to flooding, and the ones that I saw all seemed to be full. It took me a half hour, but I eventually found an empty one and showed the driver the address for our program house then used my Chinese to ask to borrow his phone to call my teacher. This was also my proudest moment, because navigation was my biggest worry at the beginning of the trip.

The best moment with my rural homestay was teaching my homestay sister how to play the card game Egyptian Rat Screw, and the best moment with my urban homestay was taking a flower arranging class with my host mom. These last few weeks have been incredible. I’ve faced challenges completely different from anything back home, and had experiences that I will never forget. China is an amazing country, and I can’t wait to see more of it someday.

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Reflections During Transference

Clara Brandt,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

  It’s so strange to be here at the end of the course. I feel like it went quickly, but then again, orientation also seems like a very long time ago. Now we’re here in a hostel just outside the city reflecting on our experiences. The most inspiring moment of the trip was definitely during […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Clara Brandt

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    [post_content] => Hi Families and Friends,

The group is at the Kunming Airport, awaiting their flight to Guangzhou with instructor Patricia, and from there on to Los Angeles. Wishing everyone a safe and smooth journey home!

-Dragons Administration
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Gathered at the Kunming Airport

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

Hi Families and Friends, The group is at the Kunming Airport, awaiting their flight to Guangzhou with instructor Patricia, and from there on to Los Angeles. Wishing everyone a safe and smooth journey home! -Dragons Administration

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-21 11:31:47
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    [post_content] => 
Dear Summer 2017 China Language 4 Week Group A Student Families,
It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!
Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):
Friday, July 28th, 2017
 
China Southern Flight #3420
Depart: Kunming @ 8:00 AM
Arrive Guangzhou @ 9:50 AM
 
China Southern Flight # 621
Depart: Guangzhou @ 12:30 PM
Arrive: LAX @ 11:00 AM
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.
We wish all students a great trip home!
Sincerely,
Boulder Admin
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

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July 28th Group Return Details & Reminders!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

Dear Summer 2017 China Language 4 Week Group A Student Families, It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder […]

Posted On

07/21/17

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-20 11:57:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-20 17:57:10
    [post_content] => Yesterday we took a trip out to Chenggong, a suburb to the south of Kunming. It's a great example of large-scale urban planning and city expansion Chinese-style. As recently as 2012 the area was considered one of China's largest "ghost towns". Now, through the addition of a metro line and high-speed railway station with trains to Beijing and Shanghai, as well as a number of large university's and the city government offices all being relocated there, the area is filling up. We first looked at the imposing government offices and the beautifully-kept public gardens which surround them.

From there we walked to the Kunming City Sports Training Base, where all of Kunming's athletes train full-time hoping to move up to the provincial and national teams, and one day represent their country at the Olympics. We were lucky enough to sit in on a gymnastics session and see the young gymnasts tumbling, spinning and jumping their way through routines. These young athletes often live, eat and train in the school, spending their mornings on normal school lessons, and then a further 5-6 hours everyday in the afternoon in their sport. The students we amazed at how serious and hard-working these 7-8 year olds were in the pursuit of success.

From there we travelled to the home of Lao Zhang, a calligrapher and artist, who taught a lesson on the origin of Chinese characters, and different styles of Chinese calligraphy. The students then had a chance to try their hand at calligraphy, aiming to replicate one of the different styles of characters which had been introduced. They had a great time getting to grips with the brushwork and use of ink, and some of the final pieces were very good for what was most students' first time trying this ancient Chinese art. Lao Zhang also showed us some of his artwork from the huge collection that he has produced since retiring and devoting himself to painting and calligraphy almost full time. The students particularly liked his small paintings with accompanying poems and proverbs, which the instructors helped to translate for them.

After cleaning up and thanking Lao Zhang, we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant which served Dai Cuisine. The Dai ethnic minority reside in the south of Yunnan, close to the borders with Laos and Myanmar, and their cooking shares many similarities with South-East Asian cuisine in terms of the spices and cooking styles used. The meal is beautifully presented on a large round table, and is traditionally eaten with the hands. After a lot of walking around that afternoon the students were ravenous, and could hardly wait to pull on their plastic gloves before tucking in! They finished almost everything besides the chicken feet, which only a few brave and adventurous students had a bite of, but overall it was a great meal and just what was needed after a long day!
    [post_title] => Ghost Towns, Gymnasts, Calligraphy and a Dai Feast!
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Ghost Towns, Gymnasts, Calligraphy and a Dai Feast!

Sam Palmer,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

Yesterday we took a trip out to Chenggong, a suburb to the south of Kunming. It’s a great example of large-scale urban planning and city expansion Chinese-style. As recently as 2012 the area was considered one of China’s largest “ghost towns”. Now, through the addition of a metro line and high-speed railway station with trains […]

Posted On

07/20/17

Author

Sam Palmer

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-18 09:27:22
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    [post_content] => Today our group spent part of their morning lesson learning one of the most popular games in China, Majiang (sometimes spelt Mahjong in the west). The game is popular all over China, but particularly in the south and southwest. There are many different versions depending on the region one is playing in, and today our students learnt the local version popular here in Yunnan. The game is always played with four players, with each player aiming to complete a hand using various sets of the three main categories of tile. Knowing how to play can really open up doors when it comes to impressing and socialising with new Chinese friends!

To parents who might want to learn more about the game to play with students when they get home, you can read about the rules here: https://www.mastersofgames.com/rules/mah-jong-rules.htm
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

View post

Majiang!

Sam Palmer,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

Today our group spent part of their morning lesson learning one of the most popular games in China, Majiang (sometimes spelt Mahjong in the west). The game is popular all over China, but particularly in the south and southwest. There are many different versions depending on the region one is playing in, and today our […]

Posted On

07/18/17

Author

Sam Palmer

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-18 09:26:08
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    [post_content] => In the beautiful but treacherous mountains of Li Jiang, a summer program of 13 whiny teens began their two day trek. After the first five minutes of walking, on a perfectly flat road, a few members of the group started to fall towards the back. At first we were discouraged, but it later turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the journey became very "rugged" very quickly. These select few soon realized that this trek was nout about the view from the top, but about the painfully slow and rigourous walk. As the counsulers noticed us struggling (or how much fun we were having) they decided to take the time to walk with us or as they would put it, pity us. We began to take a scenic selfie at very specific points along the route. We also asked our counsulers more about their personal lives and we began to plan their significant others future proposals, which included Buddhist basketball teams and a zero waste wedding. Us in the back, were also graced with special perks such as sugar cubes from Patty Kake$, getting "lost", and taking frequent breaks everytime we spotted an incline. As one back pack-er put it, "We cracked the best freaking jokes." As much as the front group gave us silent judgement, they benefitted the most from our slow pace, as they got a lot of breaks while they waited for us to catch up. I hope we leave all the readers with a quick message "The reason we were in the back was not because we were out of shape, it was because the air was thin".

- The Back Pack
    [post_title] => Slow and Steady "Wins" the Race
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View post

Slow and Steady “Wins” the Race

The Back Pack,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group A

Description

In the beautiful but treacherous mountains of Li Jiang, a summer program of 13 whiny teens began their two day trek. After the first five minutes of walking, on a perfectly flat road, a few members of the group started to fall towards the back. At first we were discouraged, but it later turned out […]

Posted On

07/18/17

Author

The Back Pack

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