Weekend Adventures with Host Families! Week 1 (第一个星期)

Authored by:
Jennifer Rives

Jennifer Rives

Every weekend on our program, students' host families take them out to explore different places around Nanjing. This week, we caught up with students to ask them about the adventures that they had with their host families on the first weekend. Here's what they had to say! 

Seeing Chinese history at Baohua Mountain National Forest Park, by Calypso Riebe

“I went to Wanda Plaza with my host mom and sister and was amazed by it. So far, every mall I’ve been to has been at least 8 floors and they’re so different from American malls, which only have like 2 floors. I noticed how every floor is organized by level, like level 1 is for men’s clothes/fashion, level 2 is for women’s clothes/fashion, level 3 is for cosmetics, and so on. I also noticed that they had an amusement park and car dealership IN their mall, which was pretty cool. And even though these malls are giant, they're all still so clean.

I also noticed that the escalators have sensors on them to save energy. When no one is on it, they go really slow, but once someone gets on it, it speeds up. I thought that was really innovative and great for energy use, which is something that we should definitely implement in America.” – Calypso Riebe

A look at all the floors in Wanda Plaza, by Calypso Riebe

“I went to the Nanjing Museum. We ended up spending most of our time in the oil painting exhibit oogling over the amazing paintings! I thought it was interesting that one art medium has the potential to create such diverse works (compared not only to other works from China but to those of different countries).” – Emily Best

Chinese oil painting in Nanjing Museum, by Emily Best

“I went to the Nanjing Zoo with my host family. My favorite part was seeing the pandas! The red pandas were my favorite. I was also surprised that they had a huge tribute to one of the monkeys that passed away. It was super cute, though.” – Han Campbell

Red Panda at Nanjing Zoo, by Han Campbell 
Giant Panda at Nanjing Zoo, by Han Campbell 

“I went to play tennis with my host brother on Saturday! It was so much fun! My host mom knew that I love tennis and play on my school team, so she brought us to the tennis court and I got to teach my host brother how to play!” – Melody Dao

Melody teaching her host brother how to play tennis, by Melody Dao

“I told my host family that I really wanted to go to the countryside, so they ended up taking me to a park that emulated the countryside. I would have liked to see the actual countryside, but this park was so beautiful that it made up for it.

Katy and her host family at the scenic park, by Katy Kettel 

My favorite part about it was the fresh air. My host mom said that the air is better there than in the city. I didn’t understand what she meant until I was there experiencing it myself. Wow, it was so fresh and light! I wish I could have put it in a bottle.” – Katy Kettel

Fresh air and beautiful scenery at the scenic park, by Katy Kettel 

“Today, I went to the monument of the Nanjing Massacre. It was very emotional to see that China was treated harshly and they couldn’t even fight back because of their lack of technology. The feelings are similar to the lynchings of black people in America: embarrassment and humiliation. China had such a greater population but still ended up losing.

It was most impactful when I learned that Japan was forgiven even after all that they did. But, in America, even though there’s still people who discriminate, I one day wish to forgive. This also brings me back to the question Dr. Tsang asked in his guest lecture, “If China became the #1 country in the world, how would that affect the U.S?” I think it would have a positive impact because the younger generation of Chinese still remember their history but aren’t as emotionally scared by it. So, they are way more confident in themselves and their nation. Their confidence should be strong enough to spread China’s morals of peace to the U.S. and the rest of the world!”  - Khalil Edwards

Khalil at the Nanjing Massacre Museum, by Khalil Edwards

“I went to Baohua Mountain National Forest Park! It’s an ancient town on top of a mountain. It has an old Buddhist temple and they preserve all the buildings to the best of their abilities. It was beautiful! Also, at night down the mountain in the old town, all the lanterns are turned on. It was so beautiful to see!

Lanterns and floating lights at Baohua Mountain National Forest Park, by Calypso Riebe

Also, there’s so much food and crafts! This is me and my host sisters getting sugar drawings of various Chinese zodiac signs:

Calypso and her host sisters eating sugar drawings of Chinese zodiac signs, by Calypso Riebe

After going to all these places, I really appreciate how Chinese people embrace nature and their culture. They tend to keep these old buildings and, instead of making them look fresh and new, they try their best to keep them the same and protect them so everyone nowadays can also experience some of the culture.” – Calypso Riebe

Preserving history at Baohua Mountain National Forest Park, by Calypso Riebe

We're so glad that students got to see many different sides of Nanjing and Chinese culture and experience them with their host families. We can't wait to see what other adventures students will have with their host families in the next few weeks! 

Beautiful views at Baohua Mountain National Forest Park, by Calypso Riebe


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