Saying Yes

As guests at Gaoxin No. 1 School, we are often invited to participate in extracurricular activities. Most of the time, we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. For example, Kevin, our host at the middle school, told me we would hold a “Knowledge Competition.” My students would form teams with middle school…

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…