Today we travelled back to Utahloy from Yangshuo. The bus trip took around six and a half hours. We entertained ourselves by playing cards, reading, sleeping, and watching quality Chinese movies. We stopped for lunch at a random service station. Mr Shem bought us all noodles as we overlooked packing lunch for the bus trip. After lunch we got back onto the bus and after another two hours we finally arrived at Utahloy. After some free time, we began unpacking and having showers. We all went to dinner around 5pm and had our second last dinner in China. After dinner we had some time to finalize our projects. We all spent this time wisely to practice and add finishing touches. We all present our projects tomorrow to each other and the following day we receive certificates from the Utahloy staff and the Australian Consulate General. We are all pretty nervous about presenting but at the same time I think we are all excited to go home.
Wow. That’s the only way I can describe today. My breath was taken away quite a few times, by the wonderful abseiling experience and the majestic mountains, my taste buds were enlightened with amazing food.
This morning I was excited to experience zip lining and abseiling. There was a small hike but the pain and shortage of breath was definitely worth it. At first the view was beyond anything I could imagine, but I know I’ll never forget it. The nerves finally appeared a moment before I had to jump, it felt like I was jumping for my life but as soon as I took off adrenaline was rushing through my body. Then once I got to the rock I had another totally different experience of lowering myself about 35 metres to the ground.
That afternoon, I learnt so much in the cooking school, I never knew that eggs could be made into dumplings and how my taste buds could explode from flavour. The cooking school was called “Cloud 9 Cooking School”. They treated all the Alpine students and staff members with such respect I was astonished to be able to cook Chinese cuisine in a room with 12 of my peers.
All in all this day was spectacular and will be a highlight of my trip.
For the first morning in Yangshou we had breakfast at a local restaurant before leaving for our caving adventure. While Core Group 2 did orienteering around the streets of Yangshou, Core Group 1 went to blue moon cave and explored the caves beneath the mountain. We were taught many useful things about rock formations like stalagmites and stalactites and the way caves are formed, we hiked up stairs which lead us to a mud pool in which we all hopped in and got covered in mud then moving on we walked through the river that flowed through the cave to the top exit. After reaching the end we had a short hike back to the start and we all cleaned off in the freshwater pool.
After changing into clean clothes Group 2 joined us for lunch at the cave. We took the bus back to the hotel before heading out for orienteering through Yangshou. We were given a quest that involved finding different places and things around the city. We split up into groups and set off to explore. Some of the groups (including us) shopped whilst doing the actual set task, but we answered most questions. We also ate a delicious traditional Chinese dinner at the local restaurant, before going to the light show performance on the river. The light show was really enjoyable even though we couldn’t understand the singing.
The whole day was really good and we all had lots of fun exploring both caves and the town of Yangshou.
Cassie & Mikki24/11/2014
Hi our names are Caitlyn Deane and Taylah Streader and we were today’s student leaders. Today we got up at 8 o clock with a delicious breakfast waiting for us downstairs in the hotel. After breakfast we made our lunches and got ready to leave. Lunch was comprised of delish sandwiches and fruit! We then picked up our bags, as heavy as they were, and started our hiking journey. We hiked up many flights of stairs through the mountainous villages of Longsheng. After a few hours, namely three, we stopped and had our packed lunch. During these 3 hours there were many picturesque photo opportunities and funny moments with friends.
After lunch we continued our long hike and climbed onwards through the many beautiful rice terraces of China. The climbing was a challenge for a few people but with a pinch of determination and a splash of encouragement we all made it through. It was a relief to finally make it to the bus! Whilst waiting for the bus we saw a “different” sight. A bus had pulled in to the car park with bags filled with pigs strapped on top. As they were being pulled down a few fellow students noticed and felt uncomfortable or a little disturbed. Others however found the spectacle interesting. If we had learnt anything from today it would be that with determination and support you can climb any mountain you put your mind to!
Caitlyn and Taylah, xox
This morning we woke up very early because we had a massive 9 hour drive to Yangshou. We departed the Utahloy International School at 6.00am. It was pretty boring but we sang a bit, slept, read, then sang some more. We arrived at about 3.00pm and hiked up through a traditional village to our accommodation. It was like a little cottage building with 3 storeys. The walls weren’t that great as they let noise through, so when one person was up and about we all were. It was a very nice dinner and for night class we went and did a bit of shopping. Once again, we got the chance to practise some Chinese whilst bartering. It was a long but good day and it should be an awesome week. We are all very keen and can’t wait!
Friday 21st November 2014
It is hard to believe that only last Sunday our initial team of Alpine staff changed over and we had the second team arrive in the morning. Since then, we have continued to be busy and that morning the students finished painting their designs onto the doors at the local primary school. The Principal and all local families of students were extremely happy with the end result. The brightly coloured doors helped provide a facelift to the school.
In the afternoon students got to experience a traditional Chinese Lion Dance, which was loud and entertaining. Some students even got to have a turn at playing the drums and getting inside the Lion and having a go at bringing it to life. It was a great way to send off the departing staff members.
That evening a talent show was held and some of the finest talent we have seen amongst Alpine School students was put on show. Guitars, keyboard, duet and solo singing, even a magic card trick was shared. Another positive night.
On Monday, our students spent the day as tourists in Dongguan city. Being only an hour away by transport, it has 8.2million people living there. We visited two museums which highlighted the Opium wars that China faced when the British came to China to try and sell Opium. We also had a walk through a Fort on the foreshore that was underneath the Humen Bridge. This bridge is quite an amazing structure that spans some 5 km.
The day finished with a trip into a shopping mall (Dynacity) to highlight what globalization is doing to China. It was a very Western style Mall with most shops being very familiar brands that you would find anywhere around the western world. The students enjoyed spending some money on food and souvenirs. The supermarket was the biggest hit.
Tuesday saw us visit yet another city. Old and new. Rich, poor and middle class, today provided students a snapshot into the fascinating and multi-faceted aspects of modern China. We started the day with a bus trip to the centre of Guangzhou city to visit the Canton Tower. Travelling through a city of 30 plus million people is an eye opening experience before the dayâ€™s activities begin, with many opportunities to observe the comings and goings of daily life in a big city. Canton Tower is the second tallest building in the world, and from the viewing platform at 480 meters above ground level, it gave students a better understanding of the size and scope of China's third largest city. Following this experience the students then made a discovery walk in small groups through a traditional medicine market in a different area of the city. Dried snake, scorpion, cockroach, deer antler and turtles where just a few of the interesting goods you could buy. We then walked on foot to a pedestrian shopping precinct, where our group was photographed many times by curious locals. This experience gave us an insight to the growing middle class of China and provided a unique opportunity for students to further develop their intercultural awareness.
On Wednesday, our students had some time to work on their projects then prepare and practise for their second English teaching experience. They went to a middle school in Zengcheng and taught up to 50 students in pairs. They were teaching English to Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 level students. Once again, they all did an amazing job. The Zengcheng students they taught were really engaged and then at the end of their lesson treated us all like "celebrities" or "rock stars". Our students were hounded for their autographs at the end of the session and it was hard to get all the students back on the bus to head back to Utahloy.
Thursday saw us return to the local Primary school for the last time to complete the community service project of painting the school's concrete walls. Our students did a fantastic job and enjoyed the opportunity to leave a legacy of doing a service for others. They were very productive and painted a long section of the back wall. It must have been at least 40 metres in length. Again their Principal, staff and parents were appreciative. The afternoon was filled with project work and the evening with a session on globalisation and its impact.
Today we visited the Hitachi factory plant to see the technology behind and witness the assembly of elevators and escalators. The factory was very clean with huge internal cranes responsible for moving large structures for assembling. This was again another eye opening experience as this particular Hitachi factory plant employed over 2000 Chinese people!
Tomorrow morning we are heading off at 6.00am to travel to Yangshou located in the neighbouring province to Guangdong. We return on Thursday evening (Nov 27th) before two final very busy days here at the Utahloy International School. Thus far it has been an amazingly enriching experience for all and our students have continued to rise to all of the challenges faced, experienced and been set to do. They have become a supportive group and I expect them to continue building positively this coming week as we head to Yangshou.
Russell Shem - Campus Principal
Hi, it's Paisley and Kyle here.
Today was quite an interesting day. We returned to the local Primary School for the final time and we painted several of the internal yard walls a light blue. We enjoyed doing this because we were not doing it for ourselves; we were doing it for the children that go to the Primary School. Even though it was for someone else it was still fun for us to do! Something we found challenging was giving out gifts to the children. They were very excited and tended to crowd around any would-be gift givers.
In the afternoon we worked on our projects which are due in shortly after we return from Yangzhou. The project will reflect on our learning and experiences here in China. My group is looking at the differences between Australian and Chinese Schools.
One thing we learnt from being student leaders was that it can be hard to get a large group to pay attention to you. However, it was a good experience and an opportunity to step up and practice our leadership skills. We are really looking forward to the week in Yangzhou. It sounds extremely interesting and full of activities. We can't wait.
Paisley and Kyle
My name is Calum Pearson and today I was student leader with Jorja-Rose. The first half of our day was dedicated to working on our China research project. A lot of groups really adopted a positive work ethic today, coming up with great ideas and working collaboratively and most groups are a well underway, if not nearly close to being done. I know my group worked smoothly and came up with some good quality work.
The other half of the day involved teaching at the Zengcheng No.2 Middle School. To get prepared we had to make a learning plan and practice what needed to be done in the 40 minutes of teaching that we had. Most if not all groups went really well, I know our English lesson plan consisted of doing some Australian songs, small games and a couple of small English language based activities. The upside of teaching at this particular school is that we were able to bring the learning outside and run some games out in the courtyard area, which expanded the amount of teaching methods we could use. This was a lot of fun and very successful.
In conclusion today was very constructive, everyone enjoyed themselves and we have increased our understanding of being good leaders, helpful peers and becoming an overall global leader.
Calum and Jorja-Rose,
On Tuesday the 18th of November, we, Jayden and Ryan were student leaders.
Our day was a fun one and consisted of a trip to Canton Tower, a traditional Chinese medicine market and a more general goods market.
We went to the 108th floor of Canton Tower and the 360ᵒ view of Guangzhou city was amazing. We even had the opportunity to stand out on the viewing platform and look at the ground below. There was a gift shop which many of us bought souvenirs from, including postcards, necklaces, key rings, luck charms, models, coins, etc. Many of us also ventured to the floors immediately above or below the viewing floor which had exhibits explaining some science behind Canton tower.
Next we went to the medicine market which consisted of many stalls selling various fungi, plants and insects. It was great to see this huge variety of consumables with various medicinal properties, even if very few of them were familiar.
Lastly we went to the general market for a short amount of time and we all really enjoyed it. This is where we could purchase cheap imitation items. Shoes with backwards Nike symbols, watches with one too many letters in the brand name. This market was very well kept and was frequented by not only tourists but by everyday citizens. It was also a great example of how China is becoming more westernized. There was at least one KFC and one McDonalds at this market and many familiar brands.
Experiencing so much of the city was great overall. Canton Tower is a huge step up from the Eureka tower in Melbourne. It would have also been awesome to have some more time at the markets but we had fun nonetheless.
Jayden and Ryan,
Today was exhausting and interesting. The sun was out for the most part, and the Opium War Fort Museum we visited was absolutely gorgeous! We got there mid-morning and spent most of the day exploring the old fort and reading about the war itself on the museum walls. We had Paul one of the Utahloy staff explain to us the opium trades relation to China’s history, which was quite fascinating.
The afternoon was mainly a bus trip, but we did go shopping eventually in Dongguan! Dairy Queen and Starbucks for the win! We were exploring the modern mall of numerous, but sadly, it was a mainly westernised.
A fun yet educational day!
Lili and Harrie’s blog