Monthly Archives: February 2017

Reflections

Here’s our latest students reflection by Damia, titled “A Walk in Shenzhen”

On the last evening of my homestay in Shenzhen, my host family decided to take me to a long coast walk that borders the waters looking over Hong Kong. Since I had spent so much time in malls and shopping centers, my host student wanted to show me a different side of Shenzhen. The sky was just cloudy enough to shade all the people who were walking, running, cycling, and picnicking outside under the sun. When my host family and I were walking up to the concrete path, my host mother stopped me and her daughter as we passed a row of bushes. I curiously observed as my host mom walked up to a bush and grabbed a handful of small white flowers. She excitedly brought the flowers near my face and motioned for me to inhale the scent. My host student translated what her mother was saying; my host mom was telling me how she and her friends would put these scented flowers in small bags and fold their clothes around them to keep the clothing smelling fresh. She poured the petals in my hands and motioned for us all to continue walking towards the path. With the flowers in hand, I followed my host mom down to the pathway that bordered the murky water.

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My host dad left us in the middle of our leisurely walk to buy white grapefruit from a

vendor near the water. I had asked my host student earlier if she had ever tried white grapefruit before; she told me it was one of her favorite fruits, and she had asked her father if we could eat some before my homestay was over. When my host dad returned with the fruit in hand, we all sat beside a bed of roses and began to peel away at the fruit. My host parents laughed at me as I struggled to peel away the thick peel. My host dad, laughing, took the fruit from my hand and peeled it for me before placing it back in my hand. We all continued to eat in complete silence. The sound of the people chatting and the bushed bustling filled the air as we all soaked in the breathtaking view of the vast water just on the other side of the path. Even though I wasn’t able to speak to my host parents directly, no words were needed as well all sat together near the flowers and ate out fruit. I had never felt more connected to anyone than I had in that moment. I felt like I was a member of the beautiful family that so warmly welcomed me into their homes. They all finished eating before I did, but they still waited for me to finish my grapefruit before we continued our walk down the long concrete path.

Reflections

Here is our weekly student reflection from Hanna:

A month ago from today we were returning from China and after a long journey home I have finally had time to sit and reflect on this experience. Immediately after our arrival we jumped right into our host family experience and this was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip for me. At first it was difficult for me to get used to their lifestyle. The food was different. The language was completely foreign to me. But, despite these differences I found that my host student and I shared many things in common. We would go on car rides where her mom would play Taylor Swift and we would all sing along.

Her family was so welcoming and her grandparents were the cutest people ever. On my final day with my host family, her grandfather and grandmother gave me a huge hug and said, “We will miss you.” This sentence was the first English they had spoken all weekend and they clearly had been practicing it. China opened my eyes to a completely different culture but also showed me that all people have similarities.

Reflections from our trip

We’re back! It’s been 3 weeks since we arrived home and we are finally over our jetlag and back into the swing of things at Miss Porter’s School. As we reflect on our time in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, we can’t help but be grateful for such an enriching experience.

Starting this week, we will have a weekly reflection from each of our students about their time in China. This week we hear from Gretchen!

Our trip to China was an incredible opportunity. My favorite day is the day I spent with my host student. We started the day with a traditional northern Chinese breakfast. The breakfast was made out of flour, however was incredibly chewy; definitely a new food for me! After breakfast, we rode bikes along the ocean. The view of the mountains and the city was amazing. We had noodles for lunch later and bubble tea for a snack. We spent most of the day shopping and exploring Shenzhen. At the end of the day we visited a light show that celebrated the New Year. I will never forget this incredible day!

See Gretchen’s Photos Here!