A life-changing trip to China
CSIA has established a fruitful exchange with the Experimental School of Beihang University, Beijing, over many years. The aim of the exchange is to encourage cultural and academic links. Hereís the trip written from the studentís perspective.
Home stay by Freya:
Living with the hosts and their families for ten days encouraged us to experience the real culture of Beijing and helped us to immerse into their culture through day-to-day activities. Staying at a strangerís house was the thing we were all most nervous about, yet we can now say it was one of the best things that happened.
Going to a country and staying in a hotel or hostel will never provide the true experience of staying in a home; which was very eye-opening. Also, we realised the routines of the families and their timings which all involve rising early and getting to bed late! Furthermore, it was amazing to be able to spend so much time with the parents and see how the familyís norms and values were different to British values. We were also able to develop a greater bond with our buddies due to the fact that we spent so much time together.
Food by Aidan:
The morning after our arrival was certainly interesting. For breakfast, I was given a bowl of fish balls in soup along with vine leaves; the texture and taste were pleasantly surprising! I found there wasnít much difficulty in learning to use chopsticks and the family that I stayed with were very helpful in catering for my needs. At school lunch times we ate in a large dining hall, much like a shopping centre: noodles, chicken, dumplings and other Chinese delicacies were available as well as some western foods for the faint hearted!
Sight-seeing by Meryn:
Out of all the many wonderful places we visited together, the Great Wall of China will always remain my favourite. Physically challenging myself to see how far I could climb without needing a break was exhilarating, and Iím glad that I had the opportunity to complete it under a blue sky and in fresh air. However, we have all agreed to keep away from any stairs in the near future!
Beijing zoo was also an experience we wonít forget. Seeing the small range of animals was amazing but it was also unfortunate to see them confined in an unnatural environment. We also had time to visit the Temple Of Heaven, Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, all iconic historic sites of Beijing. Observing and analysing the range of the buildings and artwork was very inspiring as we were experiencing such a different culture to what we are used to.
Lessons by Leah:
It was fascinating to experience the ways in which the students of our host school were taught. The lessons were short but very teacher centred. The Chinese students displayed a lot of determination over the long school day and allowed us to appreciate the opportunities that education at CSIA brings by appealing to all learning styles. The time in our host school has illuminated the benefits of resilience in the classroom and in private study.
We were involved in many different lessons from Science, Music, Art and Calligraphy, Aircraft modelling, Chinese, English and Maths. Although the only lesson we could truly follow was English, we thoroughly enjoyed participating in every lesson with the help of kind students, translating for us.
Cultural surprises by Chloe:
Everything in China was definitely a cultural surprise to us, some of which left us shocked, saddened, inspired or very appreciative.
The first thing we noticed was the large difference in population size and density; we could have never truly appreciated the population density until being face to face with thousands of commuters on the subway. We were surprised to see the lack of safety requirements on roads and were shocked to see the vast majority of cyclists and motorcyclists not wearing helmets, and worse yet riding with babies and multiple people on the bike at once.
There were also a lot of cultural surprises that had a positive impact on how we see the world, and how important it is to grab life where you can and treat people with kindness and respect.
Reflections by Emily:
We often regret the opportunities and experiences we did not take when we had the chance. When I first heard about the trip to China, my initial reaction was of reluctance based on the unknown. However, self-doubt and panic vanished once I got to Beijing and met my host. To take such a huge step into another world entirely out of my comfort zone was terrifying, but reflecting upon this trip, I know that I will always see it as one of the most enlightening, rewarding and incredible experiences I will ever undertake.
My host and her family were some of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met and constantly made me feel reassured and welcome in their home. I have honestly never laughed so much in my life through the culture shocks and humorous situations I experienced. The dedication to education in all of the students at the High School was so inspiring to see and really inspired us all to work harder in our own studies.
Mr Lister and Miss Holland-Lloyd were humbled by the bravery, determination and commitment shown by our students. Every day was a cultural, linguistic or physical challenge which the students embraced without reservation. We could not have been prouder to take these representatives away as ambassadors of CSIA, Cornwall and the UK.