Victorian Young Leaders to China Blog
By Tyla Rodrigues & Elysha Marroquin
Last week, the students had the privilege of meeting students from the Nanjing Lishui Special Education School. It was truly an eye opening experience as we found different ways to communicate with the students, whether it be through our actions, simple signs or through our WeChat. All of the students we met there were extremely patient and kind with us, as they gave us a tour around the campus and their beautiful flower garden.
We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to meet these amazing students. This experience was particularly special to me because I was inspired by what I learned. The students I met showed me how hard it was to communicate with people who are unable to sign. I saw how important it was for them to belong and become a part of the workforce; this has given me the drive to learn Chinese sign language and become a part of their community. It meant so much to me that these students worked hard to communicate with us, despite us not knowing their language! With the help of my new friends I am hoping to be able to do the same and communicate with new people no matter the barriers!
By Isabel Jose & Gechai Lual
In two words, our first two weeks were jam-packed. From studying to home-life or even exploring. We arrived in Beijing and were given such kind treatment which we’ll never forget!
Before coming to China, I only had an inkling of an idea of how large Chinese hearts are. They helped with the adjustment, whether it be with kind words or gestures, even the lovely volunteers who were willing to come to our aid and they showed us much heart and love for us. Before class each day, they came by to help us study and have a more in-depth understanding of Chinese. Our teacher “Wu lao shī” had great hope for us and taught everyone in techniques including fun memory devices. We still remember them today! Unfortunately, we had to say farewell however, the great learning memories are still within us.
School looked hard from the schedule book they presented us individually but, we gradually settled in and got used to it. School included tests, revision, note taking (the basics). Still, other parts of the curriculum included martial arts, dragon challenges, calligraphy and more. Coping with it all seemed tough at first, but our best efforts, practice and collaboration helped us get through.
I guess after progressing through the weeks we picked up new things. These included new words, new ideas on China, new experiences face to face exploring on standing historical artefacts and other unforgettable experiences. It’s fascinating that we’re simply fourteen/fifteen and have stood, learnt and emerged in thousands of years old culture and history.
The next few weeks in Nanjing we were very lucky to be able to see Chinese culture and history in Nanjing through visiting historical locations throughout the city, such as the Nanjing museum. This showed us how people lived long ago, displaying the animals, jewellery and objects used. The massacre memorial which showed us the events in the past when China went to war with Japan, during world war two.
Alongside the museum visits we got the opportunity to go to the Nanjing city wall, as well as an old town in China, where we got to see the ‘structure’ of what an ancient Chinese town looked like. Whilst we were in the town we used our haggling skills and had conversations with Chinese people.