Or, I should be saying Ni Hao.
We have all been learning mandarin since we arrived and for most of us it has been challenging to say the least, but we are making progress.
With our first week behind us, the students are in full swing with their China experience, adjusting to their new surroundings of the Utahloy International School, the humidity of the weather and the food as well, to say the least. They have ventured into Guangzhou, the big city where we flew into and have explored a traditional Chinese medicine market, where you can find all sorts of things that have a purpose for well-being. This experience definitely challenged the senses; seeing things such as turtles, hedgehogs, snakes, seahorses, funguses and many other unique items that you could use, all dried and prepared for purchase. The students had to identify and research what many of these things were used for and try to find out the price, using their newly acquired Mandarin language skills.
Doing daily Mandarin classes has been quite challenging but beneficial nonetheless. They have learnt some basics, tones, greetings, numbers and even some writing Chinese Script (Hanzi). It will be interesting to see how far their Mandarin language will have come after five more weeks.
Early tomorrow morning we leave Utahloy and travel for 8 hours in a bus to another province to stay in the village of Longshen and then move onto Yangshou. This is a popular tourist area and the students will need to practice their bargaining skills in order to purchase gifts or souvenirs. It will be another eye opening experience for them all, seeing the rice terraces of Longshen and the natural beauty of the Karst Mountains in Yangshou. I am confident you will see some wonderful photos from them at some stage following.
Other activities the students have done this week have been paper cutting, karaoke, visiting the old part of Zengcheng city, bike riding to a local village, spending a day ‘shadowing’ a fellow student from the International School and observing a traditional Chinese medicine demonstration. A couple of staff experienced some acupuncture, cupping and skin scraping demonstrations, as students were not allowed. I felt the students found this interesting and entertaining at the same time. All valuable learning.
During their rest day most students had a good relax watching a movie or two and some having a sleep, while some spent some time at the pool or went for a bike ride. A lot of the students are keeping active by making the most of the evening activities in the gymnasium where they play either basketball, soccer or volleyball with the local boarders. Hence, they are keeping busy.
Please be aware that in leaving early tomorrow morning (Mon 16th May) to Yangshou, we will not be taking any laptops on this part of their China experience, so email contact from us or your children will not occur until when we return to the Utahloy International School late on Sunday May 22nd or you will receive messages from Monday May 23rd again.
Overall, the students have settled in well to their new surroundings here at Utahloy and are soaking in the learning of the cultural experiences around them.