Author Archives: Sophie

Welcome to the SFLS, Porter’s in China Blog!


Flag of People’s Republic of China


Flag of Hong Kong

We are getting excited to see your student off on Tuesday, January 3rd at 7:00 pm when the group boards their bus for JFK International Airport to begin their incredible journey to the Shenzhen Foreign Language School in China and to Hong Kong!

You can expect to receive updates twice daily on this blog. Please keep in mind that the time in China is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) so the postings may not happen on a schedule that makes sense in your time zone. This blog is the place to find pictures, videos and reflections from students and faculty on the trip, as well as to receive daily updates about the group’s activities and experiences. We are asking our faculty trip leaders to post all materials so that students can be present for every moment and so that they will not worry about posting to the blog in a timely manner.

We also strongly encourage you to keep your contact with your children to a minimum during their experience in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and at the Shenzhen Foreign Language School, which will allow your students to fully immerse themselves in the life and community of the school and that of their host families. Emailing daily is a great way to touch base with your students without disrupting their engagement in school and other activities.

It is going to be a FANTASTIC experience for all and we look forward to sharing it with you on this blog.


And they have arrived safely back at Porter’s!

The group had a good but long flight from Hong Kong to JFK. They arrived in Farmington around 11pm.

Thank you to Porter’s parent, Sam Luo, for making this trip possible. His generosity, facilitation and support were integral to making this a success! The girls, Lulu, Alan, Liang and I thank you with deep gratitude and appreciation for all that you have done. I also want to thank Rebecca Yao, Porter’s Alumni and Development Office, for her help in navigating every step of this experience for our girls and being a huge support.

Day 8: At the airport in Hong Kong

The girls are checked in and eating lunch at the Hong Kong International Airport.

The biggest and most warm THANK YOU to SFLS for hosting our group, in particular the escort students, the host students, the host families, Luka Liu and Ling Yun. We are very thankful for your gracious hospitality and your reception of our students and faculty. We hope that we can reciprocate at some point in the near future.

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Day 7: Girls last full day in China winds down

Alan writes, “Compared to New England, the rain in Shenzhen is light and warm –practically a mist– but today it was a bit more than that. On their return from their second and final night of their home stay, the girls were excited to share pictures of the previous night’s activities. Combined with the rainy conditions, the rush hour traffic meant that the subsequent bus ride back to SFLS senior campus was slow going. Once we arrived, the girls disappeared with their escorts to their designated classes, only to re-appear for lunch a few hours later at our usual corner of the cafeteria where it has become apparent that all the girls are demonstrating increased proficiency with their chopsticks. The day ended with a wonderful farewell banquet at one of Shenzhen’s most popular eating establishments (where reservations for parties must be made three months in advance). The food and live musical entertainment reflected the folk culture of NW China in the Mongolian border region. Spread out over six round tables, the Porter’s girls, host families, friends, and key SFLS administrators feasted on an endless series of entrees including a huge rack of lamb for which Lulu and I were called forward to perform the ritual blessing. There were some sad faces as we said goodbye to our hosts and headed back to the hotel to check in for the final night’s rest in preparation for the long fight back to CT.”

The girls are fast asleep at the hotel. They will take the ferry to Hong Kong at 9am their time. And I will update you again once they are checked in at the airport.

Day 7: Farewell dinner with traditional music, singing and delicious food

Lulu writes, “Tonight’s farewell dinner featured food and music from Mongolia. Alan and I had to bless the lamb before we all could eat it. Usually it is done with wine but since we have a no alcohol policy for traveling faculty, Mr. Ling replaced it with juice from a fruit that has no name in English but it was delicious!…Luka Liu, Director of the AP Program at SFLS, showed the girls how to use chopsticks to hold up their hair. We had another evening of laugher and fun, everyone we have and gotten to know are such wonderful people, I will miss them.”

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Day 7 already and the girls are on their way to school!

The last night of home stays went well and everyone is accounted for as they sit in traffic on their way to their last day of classes with their host students at SFLS. Tonight there will be a farewell dinner and party with their new friends, host families, teachers and some Porter’s parents who live in Shenzhen.

Ramona reflects on her homestay last night: “Tonight was one of the most memorable nights of the trip–amazing getting to spend time with such a kind and generous family. Alex and I got to share Erin’s father’s passion for art and were even able to learn from him – overall an amazing experience and I am sad to say goodbye.”

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Day 6: Homestay Pictures and a Reflection by Dr. Weathers

From Dr. Weathers:

“Following their first home-stay experience with their host families, the girls were dropped off at SFLS junior campus in downtown Shenzhen this morning. All the girls seemed to have a great time and were looking forward to their second and last night with their home-stay family tonight. Once everyone had returned, we boarded the bus for the drive to the Opium Museum in Dongguan just outside of Shenzhen. Passing through the different layers of the city as we headed out of town, we got a glimpse of the factory sections on the city outskirts where the migrant labor majority population of this region work and reside in crowded dormitory housing. Dongguan itself has none of the glitter of fast-paced Shenzhen, but plenty of local color along the busy streets/market areas. After getting many contrasting and sometimes contradictory reports about the Opium museum and whether it was worth the 2 hr. drive, we were impressed and pleasantly surprised by the quality of the exhibits at the museum. Having taught this subject in my history classes for years, it was a thrill to see the spot where they destroyed the confiscated opium and very interesting to see how the authors of the exhibits interpreted this pivotal event that set off the Opium War. Before leaving the museum, we took in some related exhibits on the history of the local farming community, and then some of the students lit incense and paid their respects at an ancient shrine. After a leisurely lunch within the Dongguan city limits (steamed vegetable and seafood), we returned to the downtown SFLS campus where the students set off for their last night of the homestay experience.”

Rebecca Clark says “We went to the book mall, concert hall, out for sushi dinner, the real mall an now we are about to present our gifts to our host family!”IMG_4606 IMG_4605 IMG_4604 IMG_4603 IMG_4607

Isa writes “Bambam and I decided to go to Egypt! And then we stopped by Paris on our way back.”IMG_4610 IMG_4609 IMG_4611

She also writes, “we took the subway and went to the Window of the World, at which we saw a performance of dances from all around the world, we walked around the park, and we saw different landmarks from different countries.”

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Victoria with Director of SFLS's AP Program, Luka Liu's, daughter at her home.

Victoria with Director of SFLS’s AP Program, Luka Liu’s, daughter at her home.


Ramona and Alex at the mall and out to dinner with their host family.

Ramona and Alex at the mall and out to dinner with their host family.

Photo by Sravya, no caption information yet, but beautiful!

Photo by Sravya, no caption information yet, but beautiful!