The second part of our journey took place in Nanjing, where our students stay with a host family and experience regular life in China. They follow their host student as they go through their normal routine at Nanjing Foreign Language School. At the school. they take a variety of courses on traditional Chinese arts.
The main classroom building of the Nanjing Foreign Language School
Our students giving a presentation and hosting a Q&A session in a middle school English class.
That's our 2014 Cohort promoting a Project Bronx fundraiser for our program! Fact is, this program would not be possible without the generosity of the community. If, like us, you believe that cross-cultural communication is valuable to building perspective and character, and that our students deserve the same kind of access to these opportunities that schools with greater resources can provide, please help us keep this program alive!
Once upon a time, we had a New Visions grant to begin this program. Our first two cohorts of students paid nothing to go to China. Alas, our program is no longer "new" and has not qualified for such a grant in a while, and the burden of the cost of this trip has largely shifted onto the students themselves. Our students are now responsible for contributing $2000 to the overall cost of the trip--the rest of the money the school tries to raise via donations from our local supporters, more grant-writing, and of course, the year-long fundraising efforts of our own China Exchange students.
Check out this year's 2015 Cohort of students who are trying to raise funds to make it to China, and find out what their story is! Some of them have been working and saving for over a year, and all of them are working as a team to plan and host school events as well as small-scale bake sales and the like to raise funds for the whole group.
Where does your money go?
The two-week trip costs between $2500 - $3000 per person. This covers the plane ticket to China, domestic travel within China (one train and one domestic flight), hotel and food for one week (for the other week our students live with a Chinese student as part of a homestay experience), all the touring and sightseeing costs, and visas. New York City requires three chaperones for international travel--that's another significant cost incurred. Our students must contribute $2000 towards these general costs. Anything you donate via this page will be divided equally amongst the students to defray the cost of this personal $2000 contribution.
Great Game Night this past December! We had a big turnout, including some alums!
This year's group brought tons of videos games and some new ideas to the table--a treasure hunt that had a few girls running around grabbing stars off the walls like crazy at about 7:30. our other clubs pulled through with some awesome games, as well. Big thanks to Comic Club who hosted 30-sec drawing competitions; Health Club, who organized push-up competitions and hackey sack; Model UN for coordinated Pie-A-Teacher (and several students!); and of course our Mr. Barreto for running the limbo competition.
The following are travel journal entries written by students the day after we left Nanjing, the city where we were hosted by our Chinese sister school and Chinese students.
My experience in Nanjing was amazing. In Nanjing I learned to value many things we take for granted in New York. Some things I learned to value were drinking cold water, using a toilet, and eating with a fork. The reason why I say this is because in China you regularly drink a cup of boiling water for dinner and other occasions--not your average cold glass of water. I valued my toilet because in most public places there isn’t our western toilet--theirs a hole in the floor where you just squat. Finally, I wasn't used to eating with chopsticks. In the end I learned how to use chopsticks and got used to the other things as well.
Well, diary, on my first day in Nanjing School of Foreign Language we met the faculty that aids our program there and we all found out who our host siblings were. My host sibling was Franklin, Jonatan’s host brother was named Peter, Mariama’s host sister was named Esther, Amaris' was Mikay, and Octiz' sister was Violet. That same day we also received presents from the teacher faculty; we received an ancient design bookmark and a school track jacket. Then we observed many different class subjects and at the end of the day we played basketball.
On our second day we went sight seeing. We visited a Confucian museum in the Confucian temple. Also we visited Sun-Yat-Sen’s memorial, which was on a large hill, and we couldn't take pictures. Then the following day Franklin gave me dumplings for the first time, I really enjoyed the dumplings especially with the sour vinegar. Our third day Franklin and I visited the Nanjing Massacre Museum which showed how many Japanese soldiers invaded Nanjing in 1937 and killed 300,000 women, men, and babies. The next day I went to one of Franklin's father’s friend's farm in which we pet and fed goats and saw what the countryside is like, also we went to pick out strawberries. On my fourth day we had a calligraphy class in which we all learned how to draw our name and at the end of the day we all went to sing at a private karaoke place. The following day we all met up after school was finished and went to Purple Mountain and after that we went to a fancy restaurant to eat. We all had a great time especially since the food was good. The following day we went left to Xi’an by plane!
Nan Jing I learnedhow Chinese
people live life. When we arrived on Friday night we were welcomed by all the
host families. After greeting each other we took some photos and then took off
to our houses with our host parents. On our way home I noticed how in Nan Jing
they also pay tolls like in New York. I also realized how there are many
camaras on the road that take pictures of almost everything. When I was
arriving to my host family homes I noticed that we went into a gated area and
then proceeded to their house. The houses around there were nice looking, the
area was very clean, and very quiet. That night when I got home my host family
comforted me with a big room all to myself. Then went to sleep because there
was school in the morning. The next day Peter’s mom had served breakfast. I
noticed that Chinese people treat their guests well by making them comfortable
and giving them a lot of food.
After breakfast we went to school.
What I noticed from Nanjing Foreign Language School is that it’s big like a
college campus. When Peter introduced me to the class they welcomed me warmly.
Then I observed their English and history class. Their class size is bigger and
the kids treat their teachers with respect. Later on that day we met with the whole
exchange group and then had an presentation. For dinner my host family took me
out to eat spicy food. In Nan Jing we also visited the Confucius Temple, the Sun
Yatsen Memorial and went out for karaoke. We also did some pottery class, art
(characters), Kite-flying, and ping pong. With the kids I went out to the
movies, shopping, restaurant, and the purple mountain.
Wow we're behind! It's been a long time since we've posted anything here, I'm realizing, but that's because carrying out China Exchange was exceptionally time-consuming last year, especially with new DOE regulations regarding international travel and a great deal of confusion within the system about who exactly our new superintendent was! Paperwork in a public school is definitely no joke. Yikes.
Anyway, we're still here, and although we may have forgotten to post to our adoring public, China Exchange has been progressing in real life as usual. Our 2013 participants have already begun working towards their fundraising goals and are planning Game Night for December 2013. Over the next month, I'll begin the project of posting old pictures and journal-entries from the 2012 Exchange for your enjoyment. Stay tuned.
The new group just hosted their first China Exchange Game Night, which is fast becoming a Marble Hill tradition. A good portion of the school came out to play video games, board games, eat, get their limbo on, and hang out. Thanks to Build On and Health Club in particular for coming out and supporting us!
Raffle! Proceeds donated to China Exchange. Thanks Mr. Barreto!
China Exchange Club
Amaris & Mariama holding the fort down at the China Exchange table