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6-14 July 2019 -- Cultural Exchange Programme with CHIJ in Singapore


Last summer, five of us were given the opportunity to visit Convent of Holy Infant Jesus Secondary School in Singapore. We shared wonderful memories with our buddies during this trip and built long-lasting trans-national friendships. Through this exchange programme, we broadened our horizons and grew as individuals through making new friends and developing a global perspective. This trip also allowed us to discover more about the Singaporean lifestyle and culture as we became more aware of the intricate differences between HK and Singapore.

Before the trip, we were all very excited and prepared all we could, for example : contacting our buddies through the internet and WhatsApp, asking our buddies for their timetables, and planning the places we would visit together. When we arrived, our host families welcomed us warmly at the arrival hall.

Photo - Exchange with Exchange with CHIJ (1)  Photo - Exchange with CHIJ (2)

I think adapting to Singaporean culture and lifestyle was a little challenging for us as the food they eat may not be the same as what we eat in HK and their lifestyle is a bit different from ours. However, this is the reason why this exchange program was so special — we could learn things we couldn’t learn in HK. When we stepped out onto the streets, we could already find differences between HK and Singapore. HK is comprised of mostly ethnic Chinese people while Singapore is a very multicultural country, comprising Chinese, Malay, Indian and other ethnic groups.Therefore we heard many different languages spoken on the streets. We were all fortunate that our host family behaved quite similar to our own families and this helped us to get on with them well. Nevertheless, I found that Singaporeans like to eat food with a heavier taste.They liked to eat spicy food and when I saw the dark colour of fried noodles,I was shocked at first until my buddy told me that the noodles were in dark colour because of their soya sauce.

Photo - Exchange with Exchange with CHIJ (3)   Photo - Exchange with CHIJ (4)

CHIJ is a very different school from ours. School starts a lot earlier there than at DGS; instead of 8 in the morning, students of CHIJ need to arrive at school no later than 7:15 to prepare for lessons and assembly. As two of our buddies live quite far away from school,we needed to wake up at about 5:45 in the morning and we saw the sunrise everytime we went to school. One thing that we liked a lot about the school is the canteen! At DGS,we do not have a canteen at school for meals but at CHIJ, they have a large canteen and the food there is cheap and tasty.However,we were really shocked when we realised that they have their assembly outdoor in the courtyard and there wasnt any air conditioner in their classrooms despite the hot weather in Singapore.They are all very respectful and none of them complained about the hot weather.

We also noticed one large difference between HK and Singapore. There are trees all around the city.Although Singapore is also a well-developed country like HK, what attracted our sights on the streets were not the high-rise buildings but the large amount of green trees along the roads.It seems air pollution doesn’t affect Singaporeans and this may be the reason why we didn’t feel very hot in the classroom.I was also surprised by the fact that instead of large rubbish bins,they had more recycling bins on the streets.We can see that they were very good at dealing with trash.

Photo - Exchange with Exchange with CHIJ (5)  Photo - Exchange with CHIJ (6)

During this visit, we visited different places for entertainment and food, not only famous tourist attractions but also local attractions, such as hawker centre (food centre).We had an awesome time there and the trip came to an end much earlier than we had expected.

We had created memorable memories and learnt a lot during this trip and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have made this exchange trip possible. First of all, we wish to thank Mrs Lau and Mrs Lee, the headmistresses of both schools for giving us this opportunity of a life-time; and to Mrs RL Wong, the teacher-in-charge; and Mrs M Cheng, the accompanying teacher, for making this trip possible. We are also very thankful for our buddies and host families' care for us throughout these few days of our trip.

Photo - Exchange with Exchange with CHIJ (7)  Photo - Exchange with CHIJ (8)

Reported by: Cherrie Tong




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