Monday, October 29, 2012

Nanjing Journal Reflections


The following are travel journal entries written by students the day after we left Nanjing, the city where we were hosted by our Chinese sister school and Chinese students.

Dear Journal,

My experience in Nanjing was amazing. In Nanjing I learned to value many things we take for granted in New York. Some things I learned to value were drinking cold water, using a toilet, and eating with a fork. The reason why I say this is because in China you regularly drink a cup of boiling water for dinner and other occasions--not your average cold glass of water. I valued my toilet because in most public places there isn’t our western toilet--theirs a hole in the floor where you just squat. Finally, I wasn't used to eating with chopsticks. In the end I learned how to use chopsticks and got used to the other things as well.

Well, diary, on my first day in Nanjing School of Foreign Language we met the faculty that aids our program there and we all found out who our host siblings were. My host sibling was Franklin, Jonatan’s host brother was named Peter, Mariama’s host sister was named Esther, Amaris' was Mikay, and Octiz' sister was Violet. That same day we also received presents from the teacher faculty; we received an ancient design bookmark and a school track jacket. Then we observed many different class subjects and at the end of the day we played basketball.

On our second day we went sight seeing. We visited a Confucian museum in the Confucian temple. Also we visited Sun-Yat-Sen’s memorial, which was on a large hill, and we couldn't take pictures. Then the following day Franklin gave me dumplings for the first time, I really enjoyed the dumplings especially with the sour vinegar. Our third day Franklin and I visited the Nanjing Massacre Museum which showed how many Japanese soldiers invaded Nanjing in 1937 and killed 300,000 women, men, and babies. The next day I went to one of Franklin's father’s friend's farm in which we pet and fed goats and saw what the countryside is like, also we went to pick out strawberries. On my fourth day we had a calligraphy class in which we all learned how to draw our name and at the end of the day we all went to sing at a private karaoke place. The following day we all met up after school was finished and went to Purple Mountain and after that we went to a fancy restaurant to eat. We all had a great time especially since the food was good. The following  day we went left to Xi’an by plane!

Valentin


Dear Diary,

            In Nan Jing I learned  how Chinese people live life. When we arrived on Friday night we were welcomed by all the host families. After greeting each other we took some photos and then took off to our houses with our host parents. On our way home I noticed how in Nan Jing they also pay tolls like in New York. I also realized how there are many camaras on the road that take pictures of almost everything. When I was arriving to my host family homes I noticed that we went into a gated area and then proceeded to their house. The houses around there were nice looking, the area was very clean, and very quiet. That night when I got home my host family comforted me with a big room all to myself. Then went to sleep because there was school in the morning. The next day Peter’s mom had served breakfast. I noticed that Chinese people treat their guests well by making them comfortable and giving them a lot of food.
After breakfast we went to school. What I noticed from Nanjing Foreign Language School is that it’s big like a college campus. When Peter introduced me to the class they welcomed me warmly. Then I observed their English and history class. Their class size is bigger and the kids treat their teachers with respect. Later on that day we met with the whole exchange group and then had an presentation. For dinner my host family took me out to eat spicy food. In Nan Jing we also visited the Confucius Temple, the Sun Yatsen Memorial and went out for karaoke. We also did some pottery class, art (characters), Kite-flying, and ping pong. With the kids I went out to the movies, shopping, restaurant, and the purple mountain.

Jonatan 





We're Back! Let's go, 2013!

Time to play catch up!

Wow we're behind! It's been a long time since we've posted anything here, I'm realizing, but that's because carrying out China Exchange was exceptionally time-consuming last year, especially with new DOE regulations regarding international travel and a great deal of confusion within the system about who exactly our new superintendent was! Paperwork in a public school is definitely no joke. Yikes.

Anyway, we're still here, and although we may have forgotten to post to our adoring public, China Exchange has been progressing in real life as usual. Our 2013 participants have already begun working towards their fundraising goals and are planning Game Night for December 2013. Over the next month, I'll begin the project of posting old pictures and journal-entries from the 2012 Exchange for your enjoyment. Stay tuned.


Friday, November 25, 2011

China Exchange Game Night

The new group just hosted their first China Exchange Game Night, which is fast becoming a Marble Hill tradition. A good portion of the school came out to play video games, board games, eat, get their limbo on, and hang out. Thanks to Build On and Health Club in particular for coming out and supporting us!







 Raffle! Proceeds donated to China Exchange. Thanks Mr. Barreto!





Limbo Competition






China Exchange Club

 Amaris & Mariama holding the fort down at the China Exchange table

 Octiz, Mariama, Ms. Lo, & Ms. M


Health Club checking students' blood pressure!





Build On







Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fundraising at Parent-Teacher Night

This year's students showed off their sales skills at Parent-Teacher night this October! We made almost $300 in sales and donations. Big thank you to everyone who helped out, donated, or bought!






Monday, August 29, 2011

Gaming in China


 an article by Michael Murillo

A favorite past time nowadays is playing video games. We think of the Nintendo Wii, or the X Box 360, or the Play Station 3. Or some others prefer the Hand-Held like the DS or PSP. We have all this free time to waste so we are all able to play them. New games are always coming out for about $50 each. But in China students don’t  spend their money on new video games. Most of them don’t own any systems. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any, but they are very rare to see.  There are a lot of fake PSP and other hand helds. But they aren’t interested in buying these things. This doesn’t mean that they don’t play games, they do. They play their video games through the computer. They are huge computer games fans. The most popular game is Cross Fire. It’s an online game where you could play with friends or random people. My brother Peter showed me this game.  There are many other games.  There are other shooting games and adventure games. There are also other types of games, most games are based on war. Another popular game is a studying game. I don’t know the game itself but Peter, Lucy and Iris told me about it. It seems to be another popular fun game. Another good thing about computer games are that they are free and  easy to get. But they have to be careful for viruses. But these students don’t play these games all the time. Maybe for a short period of time in the weekend. Maybe that’s something we could learn from them.

Chinese Music

an article by Jose Frias


The music of China is a very unique part of the culture of China. Cultural music in china usually contains drums, bells, and flutes which come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. In China i saw drums that were small, big, huge, short, and tall. These drums were also in many shapes such as octagons, circular, and many more shapes. The drums were made of all sorts of materials such as wood, stone, metal, and much more. These weren't as simple as just size, shape, and material they were much more complex in that they were very detailed with many colors and different drawings of animals, flowers, shapes, writings, and they sometimes also had accessories hanging of them. The bells were more simple then the drums were because the bells were just eight bells hanging of wood with spikes, writing, or drawings on them and they weren't as colorful as the drums were. The flutes were more like the bells as well because they were just in different sizes with different pictures and they were all brown. These instruments weren't all about how cool they looked, it was more about what they could with the right person handling them, which was the true beauty behind these instruments.

Chinese Politics

an article by Keyla Inoa


To most Americans the People’s Republic of China’s Communist government is one that threatens America and jeopardizes Chinese lives for the benefit of their national economy. However, the Chinese people seem to have a different perspective of their own government.
Despite its label as a Communist country, the Chinese government implemented a capitalist economy in 1978. This decision allows for private businesses and a wide range of family incomes to be created, which include those at a poverty level. Currently led by Hu Jintao, China seems to be prosperous and rapidly rising to be one of the world’s largest economies. However, most of its people seem to live in poverty. When riding a train from Xi’an to Nanjing, the Chinese Exchange club students witnessed people who were impoverished. We went to the second class area and found ourselves with people, both children and adults alike, sitting on the floor – this was a twenty-four-hour overnight train. We offered the people fruits that we had available, and while they seemed to take them, they looked around at one another and politely declined. On the other hand, while with our host families, we got to experience another side of China. Our host parents were professionals, with careers as doctors, and editors and police officers. While one may think that they must have an abundance of money, that is not the case. While in a gathering, my host mother asked Monica and I what her social status would be like in the United States, Monica asked, “well, how much do you make a year?” My host mother responded, “twenty-four thousand” and Monica simply said, “You would be poor, like really poor” which brought laughter to the group. (Of course, the cost of living is much lower in China than in the United States, so twenty-four thousand goes a lot further!)
China, known for its many intellectuals, fails to inform its people of political matters that deal with Taiwan and critical opinion of China. Taiwan claims to be a separate country from mainland China and is in the midst of fighting for its independence. Yet, when presented with this fact Peter, one of the Chinese students, was shocked. He asked Ms. McMurdo for a clarification of the situation. Once Ms. McMurdo’s explanation concluded, Mina, the Chinese teacher, turned to Ms. McMurdo and asked her to not speak of the issue because the students are not taught about it in school. Additionally, the Chinese government continues to censor the information that travels through its people. China censors political speech and information, including on the Internet, which is why when attempting to log onto American websites such as YouTube and Facebook one will find an “error” on their screen. 

In spite of the fact that most of China’s people live in poverty and are censored, the Chinese people remain loyal to the government. When asked to give her opinion on China’s Communist party Autumn, my host mother, declared her love and appreciation for the government. She stated, “I really like the government. I think Hu Jintao really loves the people, he cares about everybody.” Fearing her response, I decided to challenge her statement and said, “Well, the government seems to be doing certain things such as creating a large amount of pollution that could be deadly to the Chinese people.” She took a pause to collect her thoughts and said “they are trying to fix that.”