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And they are off to their homestays for the weekend!


Many students at RDFZ live in the dormitories during the week and return home on the weekends. Our students returned home with their host students to learn about and experience family life in China this weekend. They will return to RDFZ with their host students early on Monday morning.

Ella at home enjoying a snack with her host family.

Callie out to dinner with her host family.

Learning from Ancients abroad

Meeting Annie Zhou was amazing – I literally want to be her when I am older. She is an Ancient who graduated from Porter’s in 2002, and now she does important work in both the United States and China actively working on creating change. Today we spent the day at Annie’s office in Beijing learning about her work as the Director of U.S. External Affairs at the U.S.-China Green Fund. I think it’s so cool how her job has many different aspects. She gets to travel often, works with children, corporations, and the elderly to educate them about the environment, and so much more. She also told us more about how she communicates globally – if she has to call California, she usually schedules these calls at 8 or 9 in the morning so the time difference works for them, too.


We also got to eat an amazing lunch with her, try new foods, and hear about her experience at Porter’s. She gave us some great advice about trying out different things and taking opportunities to find out what we are interested in. She also talked about her time at Porter’s and how the traditions have changed since she was a student. Annie was so cool and I’m so thankful we got to spend an amazing morning with her! She is a true Porter’s girl who is shaping a changing world in so many ways.

-Callie G.

Time for class

The following post is written by Jackie Mack:

Today we attended classes and clubs with the RDFZ students. After eating breakfast in the dorm, Carol, our school guide, took us to the ICC building, a place specifically used by a select number of students in the International Curriculum Center. We met with two of the directors of the center, Amma Wang and Graham Turner, and then split into two groups that had different class schedules for the whole day. Group A attended English (language), Computer Science, Theory of Knowledge, Chem, and Environmental Science, while Group B attended English (language), Math, Physics, and Bio. The classes we attended, like all classes in the ICC, were taught in English. A common theme we saw throughout all of our classes was the strong presence of a global perspective. While at Porter’s we do make connections to real world problems in class, it seems like only the tip of the iceberg compared to how ingrained it is into the teaching methods here at RDFZ. There was a wide range of learning styles in each class, including group discussions, group work, tests, quizzes, experiments, and lectures. We worked closely with students during class; we even were asked by some teachers to take small assessments with them, and while studying the material beforehand definitely would have helped our scores, it did help us step into the shoes of the other students. After school we regrouped and went to an after school club called Pen Beat. Pen  Beat is defined as the use of a pen to create rhythm by drumming it against a flat surface with different parts of the pen and the heal of the palm. The results, when done by a master of pen beat, can be super cool to watch and listen to. Today the club taught us how to play the pen beat to Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. It was a challenge for all of us as beginners; it was like learning a new instrument. However, despite how challenging it was, we all had a lot of fun doing it and it brought us closer with the students. The overall impressions we got of the campus and the people on it today were of inviting and eager. Eager to learn in class and eager to interact with us, and both the students and the faculty at RDFZ were very inviting. Everyone made us feel included, and that was especially nice for us since we are in a new environment. We ended the day at dinner with Carol, who took us to a restaurant with delicious food from Western China. It was the perfect ending to an exciting day full of learning and new experiences.

RDFZ students do their morning exercises on the track and field just outside of our dorm.

Students play Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at the end of class to wrap up their chemistry lessons and review their facts.

Sampling cuisine from Western China at dinner off campus.

Working on the difference between functions and procedures in Computer Science.

Walking to class from our dorm!

Learning Pen Beat from the pros.

Students pose with the members of RDFZ’s Pen Beat club as well as some other students visiting from Japan.

Getting to know RDFZ students as we learned the intricacies of Pen Beat.

A science experiment lead us to the roof as we examined the ozone in the atmosphere in Environmental Science class.

Settling into RDFZ

Today we settled into the dorms at RDFZ and got a taste for how the boarding school life compares in China. After arriving at the dorms, we took a tour of campus and tested our gaming skills in a virtual reality class. Later in the afternoon, we explored a local supermarket to stock up on snacks and breakfast foods before returning to campus in the afternoon for a seal cutting class. Here, we learned to write our names in Chinese characters and created a stamp of the name by carving into a block of stone. We closed out our day with our lovely hosts from RDFZ at a formal dinner at nearby Renmin University, the university with which RDFZ is affiliated.

Some students shared their highlights from the day – clearly the trip to the supermarket was a favorite! We are excited to dive into more classes tomorrow.

“My highlight was going to the market. The size of it was amazing, and it was jam-packed with an assortment of everything, from all over the world. There were tons of options and foods I had never seen before.” -Callie G.

“My highlight of the day was getting to have a VR lesson. It was so cool to see how different the equipment is from what we use in the U.S. for VR. It was also fascinating to see the work of students and all the effort they put into making the VR worlds to show us. They had Chinese signs and English translations that demonstrated their knowledge of both languages and how aware they were that we in fact would be seeing them.” -Melina B.

“Today my highlight was going to the market which was a really nice walk from the school. We went as a group to get breakfast for the next few mornings. I thought it was cool to see how different all the food is here compared to the United States and I am looking forward to trying more of it!” -Ana B.

“My highlight of today was walking to the market because I really got to experience the busyness of Beijing. It was fun seeing all the cool buildings and passing by strangers who would smile and wave. It was nice comparing their cities to ours and seeing how their architecture differs from ours as well. This was my highlight because it made me feel a part of the crowd. It opened my eyes to how large the population is and how different yet the same every building is. It also helped that it was such a beautiful day out!” -Kyla G.



Hitting the ground running

Today we woke up around 7 am and had breakfast at our hotel before heading off on a big day of sightseeing and experiencing. We traveled for almost 24 hours to get to Beijing, and we are all so happy to be here. We got on our bus right after breakfast, and started our day. During our drive, Lynn (our tour guide) told us many stories of the history of China and explained the importance of the tree within China. The roots of the tree are in Xi’an, the trunk is in Beijing, and the branches and leaves are in Shanghai. We were most certainly on our way to experience the trunk of the tree, a day packed with activities all over. Our first stop of the day was the Summer Palace. As we walked through, we became truly immersed in the culture of historical China. A popular favorite moment was dancing with the retired women in one of the squares of the Summer Palace. After we walked around the palace we got on our bus and headed to lunch. After lunch, we drove about an hour to the Great Wall.

The Great Wall was immediately intimidating just by looking at it and we were all amazed by the awesome work that was put into building such a structure. We walked up the many steps of the wall to the top of our section. The steps were very uneven and it was a difficult climb, but we all did our very best to complete it. It was a truly life-changing experience. When we left the Great Wall, we headed to the 2008 Olympic Park and walked through the incredible, architecturally-advanced buildings. It was absolutely amazing to see such a special place. We finished our busy day by having an amazing peking duck dinner at a restaurant in the city. We are all tired and ready for a good night’s sleep before our busy day at RDFZ tomorrow.


The group landed in Beijing, settled into their hotel and are off to dinner

Our group of travelers landed in Beijing on time and were met at the airport by Lynn their guide for the next two days. They checked into their hotel, rested for a short period and headed out to dinner. By all reports from Cate and Jackie, the flight was long and everyone is tired but excited to eat some food and have a really good night’s sleep. The group will travel to the Great Wall tomorrow so stay tuned for pictures and more updates!

And wheels are up! The group is en route to Beijing!

After an early morning departure, the group arrived at Newark International Airport with plenty of time to change money, eat some brunch and get excited for their adventure ahead.

The group boarded their United Airlines flight #089 and took off about 5 minutes later than expected. They are scheduled to arrive in Beijing tomorrow, Monday 3/11, at 2:58 pm local time (2:58 am EST on Monday). Stay tuned for more blog posts once our intrepid travelers arrive in China.



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

We are getting excited for this 11th grade InterMission class to begin their incredible journey to the High School Affiliated with Remnin University (RDFZ) in Beijing, China!

You can expect to receive updates once a day on this blog. Please keep in mind that the time in China will be 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time 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 daughter to a minimum during her experience in Beijing, which will allow her to fully immerse herself in the life and community of the city and RDFZ.

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