You gotta love the stories that get told through blogging. As part of the Gould Academy‘s Four Point Program, the entire ninth grade class is wrapping up 12 day trip to China. You didn’t misread; the entire ninth grade traveled to China to experience a different culture and gain some perspective and understanding.
During their trip students and faculty kept a blog in which they documented their trip from planning forward. The students seem to have done a nice job getting out and working to experience the unfamiliar language and happenings. The blog includes some observational student and adult writing as well as a good number of pictures.
Gould students took language lessons; practiced calligraphy; got out into the countryside; visited the Great Wall; experienced a tea ceremony; visited temples and shrines; spent time with host families, and most importantly met and connected with other students.
Some of my favorite excerpts/observations from Gould in China:
We ate lunch nearby at a restaurant along the river. The students quickly made the connection between the vegetables and livestock on display outside the restaurant and lunch itself. (March 2)
Now imagine a crowded city sidewalk with people streaming in both directions, ducking and diving in and out of the tightest gaps imaginable. Only in this case, instead of people on a sidewalk it is cars, buses, scooters, and bikes in the middle of the road. The lines mean next to nothing as our taxis regularly crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic in order to gain an advantage on the bus or Audi just ahead. Apparently the only rule is that if your nose is ahead, even by a few inches, you have the right of way. Just when you think you can relax, a scooter will be cutting across four lanes of speeding cars going the wrong direction in an effort to make a side street, all while dodging the ever present pedestrians in the middle of the street. Liberal use of the horn, and a fearless willingness to do whatever it takes, seem to be the only requirements for driving a cab in China. It is truly an experience that has to be seen to be appreciated, though it is not for the faint of heart. (March 2)
Two brave students, Tutu and Will chose to do a very Chinese thing- have their ears cleaned on the street by men with tuning forks and a variety of tools. As with any endeavor that takes place in the street, it drew a big crowd! (February 27)
Part of the Larger Picture
Far from a just-for-fun trip, Gould designs their trip with a purpose. Students have worked through a curriculum designed to support their travel experiences prior to traveling and they will work to produce pieces drawing on their experiences as they complete their school year.