A Weekend in Luoyang

I had no idea the human body could do that. This thought ran through my head over and over as we watched a kung fu demonstration at a martial arts school. A little boy folded his body as if he were made of rubber. A group of students held one of their classmates aloft on…

Teacher Reflection: Lăoshī, hăo

At the beginning of every class, Gao Xin Yi Zhong students stand to greet their teachers. “Lăoshī, hăo,” they chant in unison, as they bow their heads forward. This small routine is just one of many examples I have seen of the deep-seated respect for teachers in China. Teaching is a high-status job here, as…

Student Reflection: Sophie

“Sufei, kuai chi fan!” (Sophie, come eat quickly!), my host grandmother calls every morning before breakfast. There is an urgency to eating here that I did not anticipate. After learning so much about Chinese food in Chinese class back in Brookline, I knew that food would be a very important part of the culture here….

Student Reflection: Emily

Walking into immersion class on my first day of school at Gao Xin High School was overwhelming, to say the least. I was pleasantly greeted with applause, and one girl told me she was my desk mate. My initial reaction was how tiny the desks were. At five foot seven, I was one of the…

Travels in Yunnan

When we first arrived in the ancient town of Dali, it was five o’clock in the morning. Exhausted and dazed from our overnight train from Kunming, we dragged our suitcases down the dark cobblestone streets by the light of our guide’s cellphone. But then someone looked up. “Stars!” she exclaimed in awe. The rest of…

Student Reflection: Lia

A few weeks ago my host mother decided that my stuffed pig from America got too cold when I was at school and went out and bought it a baby blanket and pillow so it could stay warm during the day. Later she decided my pig got too lonely and bought me a stuffed panda…

Teacher Reflection: Learning to Eat Chinese

I am convinced my host family is trying to fatten me up. On one of my first days in their house, my host sister produced a scale, and we weighed ourselves. Based on the amount of food I have been cajoled into eating since, I am afraid this might have been to establish a baseline…

Student Reflection: Henry

I could feel the blood pulsating through my veins as we walked up the steeply sloped ramp that led us out of the Xi’an railway station. As we made our way out of the tunnel, the first thing that I took in was the vast Xi’an city wall. For a moment, all my worries had…

Settling In and Venturing Out

After three weeks of school, we have begun to settle into a routine. Two hours of immersion classes in the morning, followed by a break for morning exercise. Chinese class, lunch, more Chinese class, English/History class, culture class. Compared to a day at Brookline High School, it feels long; we go from 8:00am until 4:40…

Student Reflection: Olivia

I sat on a small plastic stool next to my host sister whom I had met an hour ago. My parents had disappeared into the crowded hotpot restaurant and my cousin and little brother played together in the corner, leaving the two of us alone on an island of tense silence, surrounded by a sea…

The First Week of School

We have now been at Xi’an Gao Xin No. 1 High School for one week. We started off slow, with a welcome banquet hosted by our friends from the middle school on Monday. On Tuesday, we had another delicious lunch – hot pot, a specialty from the Sichuan province that is very popular here in…

Teacher Reflection: Meeting My Host Family

As we rolled our suitcases up the ramp to exit the train station, I felt my stomach clench in nervousness and my heartbeat quicken. I turned around to look at my eight students, and I could see my apprehension and excitement mirrored in their faces. “Is anyone else freaking out?” asked Lisa. The answer was…