Monthly Archives: May 2017

Reflections

This week’s reflection comes from Sofia GV,

The trip to China was something that you only experience once in a lifetime. I got to interact with people from Shenzhen and Hong Kong, which, even if they are cities in the same country, they are completely different, and that really gave me a lesson about diversity and cultural differences. I am a curious person who loves exploring, and this opportunity fulfilled my desires, I got to live their lives for a weekend when I stayed in my host family’s house with Naya. Florence, our host, took us around Shenzhen, we went to the “Window of The World”, which is a park that has a monument of each country and some attractions, we had a lot of fun, took pictures and drank coconut juice from the coconut itself. She also took us to an oil painting village, and we saw the Chinese art in its essence, it was beautiful! Everyone took pictures of us in Shenzhen because we were basically the only internationals in the whole city, we were the center of attention, and everyone in my host’s neighborhood wanted to meet us. The food was new and unfamiliar, it was definitely a challenge at first, but now I can use chopsticks better than anyone back home and I am much more open to trying new and exotic things.

The school and experience in Hong Kong was more like a touristy one, we did go to school but we mostly did activities based on exploring the city and its museums. I loved Hong Kong and I am glad that we visited it because it is such an exotic and international city, and it gave me another view point of China. Overall the whole trip was very enriching and we really became a close group.

Reflections

This week’s reflections come from Lizzy M.

Our trip to Shenzhen and Hong Kong was something completely new to me because I had never traveled to Asia before this trip. It was truly an amazing experience. From biking on the coast of the city to making dumplings and learning calligraphy at SFLS I experienced Asian culture in a way I had never expected. The food was very different from our food in the US (as expected), but I never realized how different the menus would be! From eating the roots of lotus flowers to seeing an entire chicken (head included) put in front of us on the lazy susan amazed me.

My favorite part of the trip was going to Hong Kong. At DGS we were able to connect with our host students by spending classes with them and going out to lunch with our host student and their friends. A few Porter’s girls and I went to a Japanese restaurant with our host students that had the best chicken teriyaki. The highlight of the Hong Kong section of the trip was going to the ladies market because I have never bartered for trinkets before, so it was really interesting to shop in a way that I have never done before.

I will never forget this incredible trip because of all the new activities and foods I was able to try abroad.

Reflections

This week’s reflection is from Olivia L.

The time that I felt most connected to Chinese culture was during my homestay because I was a part of the family rather than a member of the group from Miss Porter’s School.

… while I was in Shenzhen I went to a market with my host student, Wendy, and her mom. There was a constant buzz of noise and people were buying all kinds of foods I had never seen before. My host mom kept handing me food … and that is the only rule I broke in China: do not eat street food. By the end of my time there, I had multiple bags of unidentifiable food … and five bracelets. How I go the bracelets is my favorite part.

I knew before I came to China that I would come across street markets… , but since I do not know Chinese, … I knew I was not going to be able to bargain. Then I saw those bracelets. I knew they would be a perfect gift for a few of my friends at home, so I wanted to buy them. I asked Wendy if she could ask the man at the booth that if I bought five bracelets, I could have a discount. After she went back and forth with the man she reported to me that I would be saving 25 yuan. I handed the man my 100 yuan bill and he handed me back 20 yuan, which is not what we agreed on. He made a plea to Wendy and she shook her head and told him that he still owes us 5 more yuan. I shook my head too and we finally got the money.

This was a big deal because Wendy and I sometimes had difficulty communicating, but in this moment we were able to work together and accomplish something. I felt excited and proud of myself for being able to do that, but even more than that I felt like Wendy and I connected completely in that moment.

Reflections

This week’s reflection comes from Catherine T.

One of my most meaningful days during our two week long trip to China was spent not with my host student or friends, but with my host mother.

The morning of the first day of my home stay, my host student had to attend a SAT prep class. While she was gone, I was left with nothing to do. I couldn’t communicate with her family, whose english knowledge did not reach farther than common greetings, and I certainly could not go out on my own. So, I resigned myself to reading in her bedroom while I waited for her return. However, I heard a knock on my door shortly after my host student’s departure. In surprise, I looked up to find that my host mother was standing in the doorway, with my shoes in her hand and a smile on her face. In confusion and curiosity, I quickly got up and walked over to her. She handed me my shoes and then pointed to the door. As she started putting on her own shoes, I realized that she was going somewhere and wanted me to come with her.

As we drove, she flipped through radio stations and smiled in delight whenever we would come across an English sounding one. Each time, she would turn to me and say “American!”. While more often than not it was country music(not exactly my favorite genre), I would still smile as she turned it up.

Soon we pulled into a parking garage, which soon revealed itself to be the lower level of a grocery store. As we rode the escalator upstairs I gazed in wonder at the floor to ceiling shelves of product and the magnitude of people. My host mother grabbed a cart and told me slowly, in her limited English, to get whatever I liked.

I was touched by her intent on making me feel welcome and comfortable while staying with her family as we wandered the aisles. She was incredibly attentive; when I hesitated to ask for things, she would notice immediately and grab the object of my attention and put it in the cart. She also grabbed some of her own favorites, such as Chinese Chestnuts, to share with me.

The next morning she prepared a breakfast with the foods we had bought together. We ate together as her daughter and husband slept. We spoke very little, but we sat together comfortably.

My experience with my host family was my favorite part of my trip, but the short time I spent with my host mother was the most special. The bond we formed, even with the language barrier, made me feel like I was spending time with my own mother. While I may never see her again, I will cherish the memories we made.