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April 2019 -- Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School


From the 8th to 13th of July, 39 S4 students participated in Student Exchange Programme tour to Hangzhou, specifically to our sister school Hangzhou Foreign Language School.

On the 8th of July, upon arrival at the Hangzhou International Airport, we were immediately transported to the Hangzhou Foreign Language School (HFLS). We were warmly welcomed by our student buddies and teachers who waited for us by the dorm entrance. After a brief introduction session with our buddies, the atmosphere around us lightened up.

The next day, we went to visit the world renowned West Lake. Our first stop is Flying Peak (Fei Lai Feng). At the foot of Flying Peak is the valuable cultural heritage, Lingyin Temple and Flying Peak stone carving of Buddhist Statues. The statues were carved during the period of Five Dynasties (10th century) and the Yuan Dynasty (14th century). After watching the precious historical artifacts, we climbed up Flying Peak. Flying Peak is only about 160 meters above sea level, but the rugged paths and rocky steps made the hike nonetheless challenging. All of us had a enjoyable and relaxing time, being in such close proximity with nature, away from the tedious city life.

Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (1) West Lake Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (2) Meeting with Principal

After lunch, we took a boat cruise to visit a few West Lake scenic spots. At night, we went to watch the Qiantang River night scene and Qianjiang New City Light Show. We all enjoyed the Music Fountains and Light Show very much!

On the third day, we started our first day of school in Hangzhou. Before we joined the lessons with our buddies, we had a formal meeting with the principal of Hangzhou Foreign Language School, Dr. Fang Jianwen. During the meeting, Dr. Fang gave each of us a school t-shirt as souvenir. We were also invited to participate in a compulsory morning exercise session, where students of the whole school did all sorts of sports, such as rope skipping or jogging along the track. We were told that this helps energize them and aids their concentration for the coming classes. We found it very interesting and many of us took part in the activities.

When we sat together with the HFLS students and joined their classes, we were amazed by the diligence and attentiveness these students possess. Due to differences in the education mode and medium of language, some of us had difficulty in following all the content taught by teachers. For example, when we had Chinese class, students in HFLS were asked to submit a short essay on what they thought about the famous proverb by a renowned Chinese philosopher MengZi. The depth of their analysis and the different angles they had impressed us a lot, and it was certainly a different approach compared to the education format in Hong Kong, where we focused more on the technical skill employed by such set texts.

After a wonderful lunch at the HFLS cafeteria, where they served a variety of delicious food, most notably the Teppan set, we set off for our afternoon classes. The most memorable one was the interest class, which is similar to our OLP classes. Their students conduct different sessions on extracurricular topics. Both of us participated in the English class, where we had a lively debate on what we thought was the most important thing on Earth, along with much laughter and fun.

Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (3) Normal Class Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (4) Dumpling-making Session

We were also treated to a dumpling making session, where all of us got to try making Hangzhou-style dumplings and taste the fruits of our hard labour later on, since the staff kindly helped us steam our handmade dumplings. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and returned to the dorm stuffed and satisfied.

On the fourth day, we visited the historical water town of Wuzhen, in particular Dongzha and Xizha, meaning the eastern and western districts. In Dongzha, we were led by a tour guide and visited different attractions, including the Folk Customs Museum, the Ancient Bed Museum, the Indigo Fabric Workshop, the Former Residence of Mao Dun and the Mao Dun Memorial. In Xizha, however, we were allowed to visit the different attractions within our own groups, which was a refreshing experience. Xizha includes many other attractions, including a Live Water garden, the Zhaoming Academy and the Wuzhen Grand Theater. Perhaps the most spectacular part of the Wu Zhen area is how all the attractions are connected by a river and multiple stone bridges. Moreover, we enjoyed a delicious meal in one of the restaurants there, and the truly breathtaking view of the lantern-lit river at night.

Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (5) Wuzhen Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (6) Chinese Lesson

We were given another valuable opportunity to communicate and exchange with the students at HFLS on the fifth day. In the morning, we attended a Chinese lesson with the college preparation class. This is a unique system in the school, where students who have already received offers from universities attend lectures and classes in a style similar to university lectures, and enjoy a more flexible schedule. These students are allowed to take courses depending on their own interests, and lectures that relate to their university degree. We also attended a sharing session with the college preparation class from HFLS, and the students from the visiting German school. The exchange was a valuable experience, with the students sharing on the special features of their respective cities and schools, and teaching each other interesting phrases in our respective languages. Through this exchange session, we were able to gain more insight into the differences between our respective cultures, while gaining heartfelt appreciation for the diversity that was present that day. We then attended several more classes with our HFLS buddies, including a rather interesting PE class and a foreign language class. After the classes, we bade farewell to our buddies, and attended a martial arts class. Though the class was short, and we were not the most athletically gifted, we were able to learn some martial arts skills for self defense. We enjoyed our last meal in the HFLS cafeteria that night, and it definitely was one of the most memorable and nostalgic moments in this trip.

Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (7) Sharing Session with HFLS and German School Photo - Exchange with Hangzhou Foreign Language School (8) Waitong Village

As our trip came to a close, and we bade our friends at HFLS one last time, we were brought to the Waitong village. The village is a residential area where many Longjing tea farmers live, and it was made into an attraction because of the beautiful architectural design of the houses and the scenic views of hills full of beds of green tea leaves. The village seemed to have come out of a storybook, with quaint village houses similar to those found in Dutch countries, with a lingering scent of fresh tea leaves and the brightly coloured flowers that ornated each and every house. We enjoyed a meal in a homely restaurant there, which served dishes of Hangzhou cuisine, and eventually left the village and headed towards the airport. Stepping onto the airplane was yet another one of those bittersweet moments as our exchange trip drew to a close.

Our time spent in Hangzhou was not long, but it was certainly an unforgettable experience: the lifelong friends we have made, the refreshing learning experience, the beautiful and mesmerizing scenery, these components all contribute in making this trip a most treasured memory.




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