Calligraphy Culture Class
Learning to do calligraphy in an afternoon culture class. We worked on our calligraphy for about a week and a half. Our teacher, Wang Laoshi, was an amazing artist himself in Chinese paintings, and helped us all learn the concepts of this traditional form of art. We learned to paint with the correct brush strokes and practiced many characters.
Every morning, for about 45 minutes, we got a break from our Chinese language class to participate in morning exercises with Wu Laoshi, a PE teacher at the school. We went through various routines, and learned to count to eight in Chinese with perfection. It was a great respite from sitting in a classroom, although it was very hot exercising in 1oo degree weather with no AC. After a couple weeks of just exercises, we learned to do martial arts.
Two of my friends and I went with our host siblings to their class on the Fourth of July to share with the Chinese kids what the Fourth of July is and how its celebrated in different parts of the US. They asked us lots of questions about American culture, ranging from school life to food to popular music. We even sang the national anthem for them! On the Fourth of July, the school was nice enough to celebrate with us by throwing a pizza party (yes, pizza in China) and setting off fireworks and sparklers that night. What a great cross-cultural experience!
Getting help from one of our teachers, Shi Laoshi, in another one of our culture classes: Chinese knot-tying. We learned to make the traditional knots that symbolize good luck and fortune. This was a shorter art unit. Other types of art we learned were paper cutting and singing. The knots were difficult to tie, but luckily my host sister was a very skilled artist and helped me make very impressive knots! Our host siblings attended some of the culture classes too.
Interview for Local News
While we were touring the South Lake Communism Museum, a local news station from Jiaxing interviewed us about our experience in China so far. The interview was partially in Chinese and partially in English. Throughout the program we got a lot of publicity. Jiaxing is considered a small city in China and they don’t receive many foreign visitors. We were on TV, in the newspapers, and in many pictures and videos of random Chinese onlookers.