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April 2019 -- Exchange with the Affiliated High School of Peking University


Photo - Exchange with The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University in Beijing (1)

29 S4 DGS girls were already awake at the crack of dawn on the 8th of April, eagerly anticipating their 6-day trip to Beijing. We were accompanied by our vice-principal Dr. Cheung, and teachers Mrs. Ma and Mr. Ebrahim. We landed safely in Beijing Capital International Airport 3 hours later.

After a 45 minute drive, our bus pulled up at the campus of The Affiliated High School of Peking University, or Bei Da Fu Zhong. Once we stepped off the bus, we couldn't help but marvel at the stunning campus before us. Lush green trees lined every walkway of the school, which went really well with the beige, brown and white outer walls of the school buildings. School had just ended at the time we arrived, and some students were already at the basketball court shooting hoops, eager to blow off some steam and unwind after a long day. The positive energy and coziness flowing through the campus made us feel right at home, and we had no problem getting used to the environment at BDFZ.

After meeting our buddies for the first time, we were then escorted to the cafeteria and had a hearty buffet dinner together to get to know each other. Shortly after the meal, our buddies brought us on a detailed school tour, where they explained the functions of some rooms and facilities, their classrooms, and introduced some of the secluded but scenic spots in the school for studying or relaxation. They also showed us the school's pride and joy - their underground sports center, which not only had over 15 sports courts or facilities, but also was equipped with a gym room, 4 art rooms (Chinese painting and sand art), and several other multi-purpose rooms for honing miscellaneous skills. Needless to say, we were all astonished by the huge number of facilities in their school, and the sleek interior design of each room just made us even more excited for classes to begin.

For 6 hours we followed our buddies to attend various classes. The classes we took varied from English to Maths, Geography and Science. From these 6 hours, we learnt that their curriculum for almost every subject, especially for Maths and the Sciences, were of very high standard. The students were all well prepared, and the lessons were conducted smoothly, with most of them eagerly raising intuitive questions to gain more understanding of the topic. We also noticed that all their lessons were conducted in Chinese, even English classes, as opposed to our school using English as the main medium of interaction.

We also had the opportunity to visit some historical monuments in Beijing during our trip. Many of us had heard all about the magnificent and breathtaking Great Wall of China in class, but had never been there in person. This time, we were able to view the wall in all her glory. The Great Wall of China was built by the ancient Chinese to ward off foreign enemies, and is over 20000 km long, separated into Nuqiang (for females) and Nanqiang (for males). We were already very exhausted after arriving at the fourth tower of the Nuqiang, since the part of the wall we were climbing was perched on a hill with a 45 degree inclination. Though the trek was immensely tiring, and we struggled to climb up the final sections due to exhaustion, the view of the Great Wall curled up on the Black Mountain like a dragon from the top made it all worthwhile. We were very fortunate to be able to be in Beijing during the month of the blossoming Peach trees, and from above, the view was even more spectacular, adding a tint of pink to the Black Mountain.

We also had a taste of traditional Chinese art culture outside of school learning, and we were graciously given two 1.5 hour long classes on attempting the guqin and guohua by the teachers at BDFZ.

Guqin is a traditional instrument with seven strings and thirteen marked pitch positions. The pluck of the string, using techniques such as tiao and gou, produces a deep, resonating, rich sound. She also taught us jianzipu, a simplified way of writing a standard guqin score, which we found very intriguing. This made us marvel at the intelligence of the ancient Chinese, as they took their everyday Chinese characters and created a completely new language in music. We also had the valuable chance to play the instrument, and we had a lot of fun trying out the tune the teacher gave us.

Guohua is one of the oldest continuous artistic genres, and we tried to finish an ink and wash painting. Although the experience was short, we learnt about different painting techniques as well as techniques regarding how to structure an art piece. We tried to imitate a famous art composition, with periwinkle grapes, magenta flowers and black leaves. Not everyone was satisfied with their final product, but everyone agreed that they had fun and had gained more insight about the two art forms.

Photo - Exchange with The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University in Beijing (3) Photo - Exchange with The Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University in Beijing (2)

During the lunches or dinners on school days, we could go to the three storey cafeteria and enjoy a meal. The cafeteria at BDFZ offers a wide array of food for students, ranging from Japanese ramen, Korean bibimbap, local Chinese noodles and Hong Kong style fast food. On excursion days, however, we would be treated to some local delicacies. Haidilao (hot pot), Peking duck, zhazhangmian (noodles with minced pork and cucumber) were some of the well-known eateries and dishes that we tried, and every night we would retire to our dorms, stuffed to the brim with various treats.

The days flew by swiftly, and our 6-day trip was quickly drawing to an end. We all bade goodbye to our buddies, who have graciously spent a few days with us.

We would like to thank our vice-principal and teachers, Dr. Cheung, Mrs. Ma and Mr. Ebrahim, who have kindly taken their own time to chaperone us on this trip. Most importantly, thanks must be given to Mrs. Lau for providing us with this invaluable opportunity to strengthen friendships with the students in our sister-schools, opening our eyes to Chinese culture, and allowing us to be in touch with our roots. Our trip was meticulously planned by a lot of people beforehand to ensure that we got the most out of it, and we are immensely grateful for that. The joyous memories created during this trip will be dearly cherished by all of us for many years to come.


Reported by: Stephanie Fong and Jasmine Law



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