ZHSS Internationalisation Programme - Ningbo 2015
The learning objective of this trip is to develop 21st century cross-cultural skills pertaining to Chinese culture by exposing students to Ningbo in China’s province of Zhejiang. In addition, it helps to deepen students’ commitment and rootedness to Singapore.
Our programme started at the Shanghai International Airport on the 9th of November 2015 followed by a coach ride to the historical coastal city of Ningbo. It was there that we got our first taste of the local food in China- salty but delicious in its own unique fashion.
The next day, we went to the Hemudu Cultural Park, a museum exhibiting what Ningbo was like 5000 years ago, replete with fossils and live-sized models. Many of the objects the Chinese crafted at that time were really baffling, as it must have taken a genius to have come up with such incredible tools for their daily survival. We also went to the site of the excavation, where we were struck by how well-preserved the living quarters and farming grounds were. It was a sight to behold as we snapped pictures of the site’s lush natural greenery and serene waters.
That same day, we went to the Liangzhu Cultural Park, a gorgeous park with many temples and shrines revolving around the mythological tale of the star-crossed ‘Butterfly Lovers’, Liang Shan Bo and Zhu Ying Tai.
Thereafter, we visited the Ningbo Jiangbei Foreign Language School. Despite our initial reservations about the communications problem and cultural gaps, the Ningbo students were extremely affable and took us on a tour around the school’s gargantuan campus. After watching a demonstration of the students’ calligraphy skills, we were each given an individualised calligraphy scroll depicting poems and Confucian sayings. We were also given the opportunity to take part in either their Science, Art, Knitting, or Japanese classes. Our observation revealed how focused these Chinese students are when it comes to learning new skills and knowledge. It was not just all work and no play. We were then invited for a Basketball friendly match with the Ningbo students during their Physical Education session.
On the third day, we visited the Cicheng Old Town, where we witnessed how schools were run and how laws were executed back in the old days. We also got to try our hands at making Nian Gao, with varying degrees of success. Spending time with the Ningbo students was probably the most meaningful part of the entire trip as we interacted with them during recess to try out the various Chinese delicacies. That night, we also took a stroll along the city, and visited one of Ningbo’s docks.
On the fourth day, we took a boat from Ninghai to Zhedong Da Xiagu, where we scaled a mountain. It was probably the highlight of the week as there was something for everyone: the nature-lovers got to relish the rich greenery, waterfalls and streams; while the more adventurous ones got to experience the thrill of climbing the mountain. That night, we also got a glimpse of Chinese literature at a local bookstore.
All too soon, it was Day Five and time to return to Singapore, but not before crossing the renowned Hangzhou Wan Daqiao, a technological feat by the Chinese engineers. We parted with heavy hearts and exchanged contacts to keep in touch, before bidding goodbye to one another. In a nutshell, this has been a memorable trip for its educational value and friendship ties.
Sec 2E4 2015