Mandarin Easter Exchange Program!
Over the Easter break I signed up to participate in the CDNIS Mandarin Easter Exchange Program. The exchange program was open to Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6 students. It was with the Yi Hai Primary School in Beijing. It was a 8 nights/9 days program. A total of seventeen students from Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6 participated. The Grade 5 and Grade 6 students were assigned a Grade 4 buddy/family in Beijing and the Grade 4 students were assigned a Grade 3 buddy/family in Beijing. The reason for this was, all the subjects in Yi Hai Primary School were taught in Mandarin and the Chinese teachers in CDNIS were not sure if we could cope in class. Before I left for Beijing I thought my Mandarin was okay, after I got there, was a different thing, I didn’t understand a word that was said in class, even the English teachers did all the explaining in Mandarin! They spoke really fast and it was very difficult to understand what they were saying. My buddy is a grade 4 student. Her name is Wang Shu but she asked me to call her Susan. Susan is the only child. The whole time I was in Beijing, Susan’s dad was away on a business trip so I never got to meet him. Susan and her mum were so welcoming, friendly and warm. They made me feel at home and that helped me a lot as this was the first time I was away from my family. We had four days for field trips which was very interesting and fun. We went to the Beijing Museum and 798 Art Gallery. One day we went shopping to the famous Wang Fu Jin street which was great as I bought lots of stuff back for my family. We also went to The Happy Valley Amusement park, which is very big and beautiful as it had displays of artwork. I only managed to go on one ride as the lines were so long! Geoff Ko laoshi and Maggi Chen laoshi accompanied us on our field trips. They days we had to attend classes, Susan and I used to walk to school and we were at school by 7:30 am. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at school. Breakfast was tough as I was not used to eating Chinese breakfast and I don’t think I’ll get used to. One day they served cake for breakfast, now that I could get used to eating everyday! Lunch and dinner was good. School days were really long as we always got home just after 8pm! We always had after school activities after dinner which were very interesting. One day we had to paint a plate. We had a tea class one evening, where we were introduced to different types of Chinese tea and we could try them. We also had Chinese calligraphy class. I also met up and spend a few days with Hong Yuan and her family. Hong Yuan was my buddy when she visited Hong Kong last October with The Yi Hai Exchange student program. During the Ching Ming festival I went out with Susan’s and Hong Yuan’s family. We went to a vegetable farm and picked vegetables. I had very enjoyable time with both families. Most students would have gone away with their families or spent time with them during the Easter break, whereas I chose to go on this trip because I felt it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the Chinese culture, language and also help me learn and try news things. I made so may new friends. It taught me to be more independent and be more confident. I missed my family a lot but I spoke with them every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to bed and that helped me a lot. I really enjoyed going away on this program and I encourage others to try it if ever they get an opportunity. I hope you all had a very enjoyable Easter break…… I know I did. Dynamo 16