Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cultural Immersion 101

Today we had several lessons at the Chengdu Experimental Foreign Language School Affiliated to the Tanghu Middle School. We started the morning learning how to speak Chinese - just the basics: good morning, How are you?, very spicy, delicious, American, and how to say each of our names. The teacher also offered to teach students sentences or phrases they wanted to learn. "I love to ski", "Will you marry me?", and "The food is delicious" are just a few of the students' requests.

During a short break, we discussed the happenings of the previous night: an outing to Pizza Hut with several of the host families and strolling down the historical street of shops were some highlights.

Following the short break, students moved into one of the classrooms to learn hand crafts. We folded origami birds, an elephant, a lantern, among other shapes. Students had fun following our teacher who taught solely by demonstration since he did not speak English. It was effective in making the kids really watch the teacher so as not to miss a fold.

The students went home with their host siblings for lunch and a rest before returning for the final lesson of the day in calligraphy. The teacher was very skilled in this art and reminded us by comparison of what it was like to learn to print English. We learned phrases such as Happy Birthday and Chinese and American friendship. The teacher even presented a few of our students with his beautiful artwork. Trevor received a special gift of the teacher's work wishing him a Happy Birthday.

Following our calligraphy lesson, we headed over to one of the school's dining halls for a hands-on dumpling making experience, which was to become our dinner. Our hosts complimented Aaron's fine skills, who knew he has such talents lurking within those hands! The dumplings were added to a tasty soup.

Some students jumped at the chance to play basketball or soccer out in the large athletic field with the Chinese students. Many Chinese students remembered our classroom visit and were eager to talk again. Students met up with their host parents for their third evening of a home stay.

Tomorrow we look forward to more stories from the home stay. We will travel to Du Jiangyan, an ancient irrigation system that still serves the community. We've heard that it is a sight to behold.

1 comment:

  1. Unbelievable! In what ways does the community of school feel the same? different? How much does place (3000+ years of tradition vs USA's) influence one's life? How is place integrated into the curriculum?