We’ve been in Xiamen for about 10 days now and it’s safe to say everyone is finally getting into the routine of things. By now we have a set schedule consisting of morning classes followed by lunch, lecture, interest groups, tutoring, and the occasional buddy activity or community service project. It feels as though the days at the university are flying by quickly, only differentiated by the unique buddy activity of the day or the topic of the lecture.
Today, however, was a little more unique. Although we stuck by our usual morning class schedule, our afternoon was full of some fun experiences. Instead of attending lecture and tutoring, we visited Xiamen Foreign Language School, a secondary school located about 40 minutes away from our campus.
As we arrived, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the assistant principal and the deputy principal. After introducing ourselves, and learning more about the school (including the impressive fact that they offer many languages including German, Spanish, and of course, English) we were shown a music video created by the Xiamen Foreign Language School Students inspired by the infamous “La La Land.” The video was filled with colorful scenes and enthusiastic dancing. By the end of it, the entire room was in disbelief that students had actually created it.
Soon after, we finally got to meet the students themselves. We had split up into 5 different groups, each group consisting of 2 Chinese students and 5-6 NSLI-Y participants. To help us engage with the students while also having some fun, we played two games: one similar to charades and the other a version of taboo. Getting to play these games helped us get a chance to talk to the students from the Foreign Language School while also getting a break from our rigorous schedule.
After participating in the games, we took a short tour of the school, ending in the auditorium where we were seated for what seemed to be a school-wide talent show. We saw several extremely talented groups perform dances and sing beautiful songs— including a few of our own students. Getting to witness these students showcase their talents was such an awesome experience.
Although we wish we could have stayed longer, after the show we headed back to the university. Since it was already past 7, this meant that the dining hall at the university would be closed by the time we got back, meaning we had one more exciting thing to look forward to: getting to eat off the campus. Although the dining hall food isn’t bad at all, after eating it several days in a row, it eventually all starts to taste very similar, so everyone was excited to be able to eat out for dinner.
Just across from the campus is a mall with a KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, bubble tea, ice cream, etc.— just about something for everyone. We were allowed to eat anywhere, so a few friends and I ate at a Korean barbecue restaurant. It was my first time trying Korean barbecue and all I have to say is 1. Why have I not tried it before this trip? and 2. I will definitely be having Korean Barbecue again in the near future.
By the time we got back to the dorms it was already 10pm and everyone was ready to hit the sack. Today was a special day that I think every one of us appreciated. Having the opportunity to interact with the students from the Foreign Language school and learning more about the academic and pop culture of high school students in Xiamen exceeded our expectations. I can’t wait to see what other unique encounters we have!