Today we started our extremely exciting packing for china. We sat in our expo groups and went through everything we needed for our upcoming overseas adventure. After a busy morning of getting organised, we then headed of on a relaxing but challenging one and a half hour bush walk. During the walk down “room with a view” we got to admire the beautiful view of Mount Hotham and Mount Feathertop whilst talking about how we feel about our journey to China. We really enjoyed today as we feel as though we connected a lot more with our expo groups and our expo teacher Miss Wright.
We are having a relaxing night tonight as we will be watching a movie or playing board games/ping pong in the dining room. The community is feeling excited / nervous about our long day tomorrow. We start the day with a sleep in until 7:30 and then set off on our long journey at 12. We arrive at the airport at 6:30 with a speech from the minister at 7:30pm. We will be waiting a long 4 hours for our flight which is at 11:30. We fly in to Guangzhou airport at 9:30am; we will then take a bus to Utahloy. It will be a long day but we are all looking forward to a new and exciting experience.
The Alpine School Campus of the School for Student Leadership is a Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) school specialising in leadership and personal development education for students in Year 9.
This term we are a pilot program for the Victorian Young Leaders to China initiative. This means we are part of a state wide program for young Victorians to participate in a new and dynamic cultural exchange.
The program for term 4, 2014 will consist of a week at The Alpine School at Dinner Plain to begin the program, then 4 weeks in China at Utahloy International School, Zheng Chen Campus, and then a final week back at The Alpine School, Dinner Plain Campus.
The website is www.utahloy.com/zc
The Victorian Young Leaders to China Program gives students, teachers and school leaders the opportunity to be part of a life-changing international education experience. As part of Victoria as a Learning Community and the vision to internationalise our education system, 1500 Victorian Year 9 students will travel to China over five years from 2014.
At the core, the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program is about students’ developing
capabilities for modern ways of living, thinking and working. This includes global knowledge, intercultural understanding and developing thinking and relationship skills for engaging in a global context such as collaboration, communication and linguistic ability. Students will participate in a rich learning program that will help them develop and demonstrate leadership skills, and to empower them to make an active contribution to their schools and communities as young leaders.
The program complements the Victorian Government’s Vision for Languages Education by sup-porting students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of another culture and language. It is designed to increase the number of students in all schools who include a language in addition to English in their senior secondary studies.
It is expected that all the rules and policies that apply the Alpine School, School for Student Leadership, will also apply when the students are in China.
Today at The Alpine School our preparation for China stepped up a notch as we learnt about the laptops we will have access to and more about being culturally aware. Our first class was a laptop introduction lesson where the Alpine School technician did a complete tutorial on the computers integral functions that will be required while we’re at the Utahloy International School. We leant how to access our files and our emails as well as sent our first communication home. During this class we also wrote a postcard home to our families.
In the afternoon we have a cultural awareness class. We learnt how all cultures have different beliefs and values as we did an activity that trialled how each culture has different customs, outlines and unspoken rules. During this activity the group was first split in Engineers and ‘Derdian’s’ (a made up culture). It was the engineer’s job to teach the Derdain’s how to build a bridge. This lesson related to cultural awareness as the Derdain’s had some customs unfamiliar to us such as touching your nose to their shoulder in greeting and only communicating with someone if they are touching you on the shoulder or foot. As the engineers we were not told of these customs beforehand and it made the beginning of the bridge building process complicated. This showed our whole community that sometimes a lack awareness of cultures can lead to difficulties and that we should take care to remember this during our time in China. Tonight we will spend some time getting ready for China and start packing!
Sally Davis and Calum Pearson
First Letter Home for Alpine School Parents, Sunday 25 October, 2014
Arrival Day at The Alpine School (Altitude 1600m)
Welcome to the community of the Alpine School Campus for our Term 4, six week Alpine and China program.
During the course of the next six weeks we shall be writing to you several times. These letters will endeavoured to also be posted on our website for you to see and read about current and daily events. The content of the communications is to assist you with your side of the Alpine School Campus and China Experience. The letters will not necessarily deal with individuals and their achievements, but more about the living and learning process all students will be undertaking.
Mark Reeves (Principal) on behalf of the School Team and Russell Shem (Campus Principal)
- FIRST LETTER - ARRIVAL DAY: View Letter 1: 25/10/14
Even in our 5th day of Alpine School, my expo-group learnt about intercultural understanding and how to build a crossable, but highly dangerous bridge. These two activities brought our group closer and more skilled (or at least improved) in a short time. I definitely enjoyed watching team-mates cross as we all cheered.
Today, my expo group (2A) completed beliefs and values, frisbee golf and door designing for a primary school in China, which we will go and paint ourselves. Throughout these lessons, we learnt the difference between beliefs and values, whilst also having fun and getting creative.
Today we did ‘peer skills’ in which we learnt about emotional intelligence and being aware of ours and others' emotions. I personally liked this activity because it brought our expo team closer on an emotional level and we had time to reflect on how we felt. Sharing is harder for some people than others.
Settling in was surprisingly easy. Normally at things such as new schools, with so many new faces and names, one can feel very confronted and scared. But despite the new faces and change in altitude, settling in has been a breeze. So far I have partaken in my expo-group various activities and lessons that educate leadership, intercultural awareness and such other skills.
My room-mate Jake is a very interesting person and I was happy to learn that we had many common interests, one of which was musicality. My expo-group (2B) is composed of the five students from my school, Frankston and five from one other school. Even our own group liaison has been impressed with our group&'s ability to become comfortable with one another, which was highlighted in our lesson on emotional intelligence.
The full lesson on emotional intelligence tested the group's ability to be able to identify emotions through facial expressions and body language. An online test told us that we can tell how a person is feeling 80% of the time. We also learnt how sometimes, even certain negative emotions are productive depending on the circumstances. And every emotion may be positive or negative depending on context. We also tried a trust exercise in which we sprinted blind-folded towards a ditch and put trust in our teammates to prevent us from injuring ourselves.
Another activity that I have taken part in thus far is the bridge building activity. In this activity, we used knot techniques and basic application of physics to create a form of passage across a small stream using logs of wood. I thought that I personally contributed a lot to the group and a valuable lesson to be learnt is that sometimes, the reason your idea is not being acknowledged is because it isn't a good idea. I like that this challenge tested both our ability to work productively as a team and further get comfortable with each other in a stressful situation and also physically, how we can coordinate each other. I fell in the river.
'Beliefs and Values' was my most recent lesson and perhaps one of my favourites so far. We explored what factors contributed to how we find certain things offensive, normal, disturbing, abnormal and so on. Also how we look through lenses. My 'lens' has been shaped mainly by my family, living overseas in different countries, music and we all agreed that the media was always influencing our perspective. We also looked at significant beliefs and values in Chinese culture and significant events in the Chinese media, such as Tiananmen Square.
These are all skills necessary to be explored and developed before my departure to China and will help in maximising my experience and hopefully make the trip more memorable. My time at Alpine has already begun to open and explore processes in my mind about culture, emotion, thought-process, relationships and more.
By Jack G (2B)
For the past couple of days students have been taking part in a variety of activities; including teams day, bridge building and learning about leadership and intercultural awareness. They have settled in nicely and are getting along very well as a community.