Students accompanied their host brothers and sisters to classes this morning. Throughout the past few days, our students attended Physics, Geography and Politics (amongst other classes) – and this is at a Year 8 level!
Today was the first time our students joined the Chinese students in the cafeteria for lunch. It was a unique experience for our students as they grabbed a tray and chopsticks and selected what they would like to eat. Today’s lunch included traditional Chinese foods including tomato and egg soup, bok choy and fish as well as some western varieties of hot chips and chicken. We were all bombarded by requests from the Chinese students for autographs and Australian stickers and many of our students were amazed with the Chinese students’ appreciation for the simple things in life – we think we could all learn from this!
After lunch, we were taught the art of calligraphy. Our teacher could not speak English so the class was translated to our students. We were fascinated to hear that the calligraphy brush is different to that in the western world in that the Chinese brushes are made from animal fur and have not changed for two thousand years. We also learnt that calligraphy has two purposes – firstly, it is used as a way of communicating, and secondly, it is used as an art form. In China today, calligraphy is taught to students to assist them in improving their hand-writing. The tradition of reading right to left (as calligraphy is read) is not now used in the classroom – students now read everything from left to right. Our students showed they were quite a talent at the calligraphy and practiced many different characters. They were thrilled to learn that they could take their artwork and brushes home with them.
The later part of the afternoon was spent participating in a PE class facilitated by Mr Johnston and several of our students. We were joined by a large class of Chinese students and teachers who were taught how to play Australian Rules football and basketball. Many of the Chinese girls did not know how to play basketball so Georgie took them under her wing whilst many were fascinated with the kicking style of Mr Johnston, Sam and Tavia. Whilst a competitive game of basketball was happening on an adjacent court, Jess, Molly, Lewis and Shawna showed the Chinese students their skipping skills.
All in all, it was a fantastic day and the students were all looking forward to what the night would bring with their host families.