Glimpses of China – ACE 2013 culture classes

cult2Amelia tests out the stamp she engraved with the Chinese character for love

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or most of the foreign students in this year’s ACE Program, this was their first visit to China. For some like Paige Darrow, it was their first time to even leave the country. One of the primary goals of ACE is to broaden students’ horizons and let them experience different cultures. So what would a trip to China be without some opportunities to experience Chinese culture? The students in this year’s ACE Program got their first tastes of Chinese culture through two special culture classes by teachers from the Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University.

cult3Amanda chose to do it the hard way, carving her design in reliefIn the first of these classes, Ms. Jin walked students through the process of carving a stamp. Since the stamp must be carved in reverse, the teacher had the students first draw their design on tracing paper, and then transfer the design to the stone by putting the paper over the surface to be carved, dampening the paper, and then applying back and forth pressure. When the paper was removed, the design had been transferred in reverse to the surface of the stone. Students then carefully carved their design into the stone with chisels, and in the end each had a wonderful hand carved souvenir.

cultStudents learn the basics of Chinese wushuOn the next day, after a long day of intellectually demanding lectures and research for their Model-CPPCC project, the students got some welcome P.E. time. Mr. Zhao taught the students the basics of Chinese wushu and taught them a short form. Most of the students had no experience with Chinese martial arts, but they did their best to follow along with the stances, kicks and steps. Later, two of the kicks in the form were singled out for extra practice, the front kick and the whip kick.

Aside from their hands-on culture classes, the students also took a trip to Beijing University, consistently ranked #1 or #2 in the country. Though one can study Chinese culture for a lifetime and still have more to study, we hope our students leave China with a bit more understanding than they had when they came. But one thing is for sure, ACE 2013 was certainly made richer by their presence.
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