NSLI-Y Group Extracurricular

This is the last week in Shanghai. Besides our regular classes, we have very rich and colorful extracurricular activities. Here are some of the things we did.

On August 3, we had our Kongfu class in the afternoon. We were thrilled to learn tailor sitting, horse stance strike, and five steps of ShaoLin boxing from our master coach from Shao Lin Temple. Every movement he made was extraordinarily fantastic.

Here is the our group picture with “Master ShiFu”. 

The next day, we celebrated Riley and Claire’s birthday. There was plenty of birthday cake which made us happy.

On August 6, we went to the do most popular activity in China, Karaoke. After the “Professional Training”, our students can sing several Chinese songs.  We had lots of fun learning Chinese songs.


NSLI-Y Group Visit American Embassy

On August 9, our group visited the American Embassy in Shanghai and met with the Consulate General, Robert Griffiths.  


NSLI-Y Student Writings: Experiencing China (Part 2)

NSLI-Y students wrote about their experience and understanding toward China, it’s people, culture, language and many more. See a few more articles from them:

Jake D.: Individuality in China and the U.S.

“Compared to the West, Chinese culture places more value on unity and conformity. Chinese choose to reflect the views of their leaders and ancient traditions rather than their own personal views. Americans on the other hand seek independence, pursuing personal goals above the goals of society. As such, China can be described as a collectivist society, while the U.S. is more individualist.” [Read more...]

Halla B.: Yang Er Fang Lao

“Traditional Chinese culture involves many short sayings that represent ideals of life.  One of these is “yang er fang lao”, or the idea that a family should have many children to take care of the parents in their old age.  ” [Read more...]

Clementine G.: Wu Shu

“Before this trip, I only knew about Kong Fu, which is the Cantonese term Westerners use for Wu Shu. I didn’t know that in the 1960’s, the Chinese government gathered some masters of various styles of martial arts to modernized and synthesized one style so that Wu Shu could be considered a national sport.” [Read more...]

Malin F.My Cross-Cultural Experience in China

“I’ve been taking Chinese language for the past 3 years of high school. I’ve seen Chinese movies and eaten Chinese food. Yet nothing truly prepared me for the reality of living and breathing Chinese culture that I have had the opportunity to discover this summer. Lots of things have shocked me over the course of this trip….” [Read more...]

Brydon Q.: Chinese Calligraphy

“The fact that I had no ink and calligraphy paper hindered me from completed the desired task. Since I have never written Chinese calligraphy, I decided to buy a calligraphy set in China and bring it home to practice at home.” [Read more...]

Delmar T.: My Experience with Chinese Culture

“All throughout my stay in China I’ve seen Chinese people wearing shirts with English words on them, college students playing soccer with Western-brand cleats, American music coming from speakers. The U.S. and China, are miles apart, with amazingly different populations, and histories, but are still just nations, with people that are very much the same. ” [Read more...]

Tim B.: Perceptions of China: The People

 ”I originally thought that everywhere I went I would be the stereotypical fat American who eats too much and thinks the world revolves around him, what I found was quite the opposite. The people didn’t make any assumptions about me at all, in fact, they really wanted to get real information about my life. ” [Read more...]

Eric H.: What I have learned from the culture

This program greatly immersed me in the Chinese culture which I had little knowledge about. This greatly enriched me learning and understanding and it really opened my eyes. It made me look at different races through a different perspective. Doing that made me really happy about that.” [Read more...]


NSLI-Y Student Writings: Experiencing China (Part 1)

The NSLI-Y group’s China experience is approaching to the end. What did the students see? What did they hear? Did the trip inspire them to look at China from a different perspective? What culture elements do they think the most interesting? Let’s hear what they say.

Rohan D: An Eye Opener: Western Misconceptions of China

“Ever since I have arrived in China, every day has been an eye-opener. Through a combination of lectures from my teachers and my experiences with real Chinese society, I have come to the conclusion that the western world doesn’t have an accurate representation of Chinese culture and society.” [Read more....]

Johanna N.L: Learning Chinese Painting

“We painted orchids, beginning with a more simple, practice orchid, and then moving onto a more challenging piece. It was amazing to see that this talent that looks so easy, and these paintings—even ones that look so simple—actually require a tremendous amount of skill and practice. ” [Read more...]

Phoebe N.: China Through A Lens

“This despair is a different kind of beauty. A beauty I rarely see in America and a beauty that defines China for me. Even though China is a rich country with poor people, the people come together in a way which defies their pains.” [Read more...]

 TommyLee E.: Tea in China

“Tea has not only been a useful  addition to Chinese culture but a vital addition giving a new meaning to the importance food culture has on a civilization. Thousands of years ago people drank tea and today we are lucky to enjoy the same amenities.” [Read more...]

 Ryan L.: Cultural Reflection

“…Here in China, it is on such a large and successful scale that not only does it provide a small incentive for the rising middle-class to recycle, but it also allows those who have nothing to create something for themselves, to survive by depending on their own hands and feet. ” [Read more...]

 Jay P.:

“The Chinese people are very happy with their current living situation I think, even though some Americans believe that under Communism rule, the people cannot live freely and comfortably. After I experienced the home stay, I learnt otherwise.” [Read more...]

 Claire L.: 

“Staying with my host family, I learned a lot about the rigorous academic life of an average Chinese student. Talking with my host sister, the differences between the American and Chinese educational system seemed quite extreme.” [Read more...]

Lauren L.:

“The homestay experience was certainly eye opening. I often found myself comparing their lifestyle to my own back in Oklahoma. Many aspects are the same such as importance of family, and the emphasis the parents put on their child’s schoolwork. But some of the biggest contrasts I found were how the family chose to spend their time together, meal preparations, and the overall style and layout of the house. ” [Read more...]

Nicky D.: The Art of Calligraphy

At first I didn’t understand why it was necessary to be able to write one character in so many ways… isn’t normal Chinese hard enough? But then I learned more about the reasons for the different styles. ” [Read more...]

Emma L.: Chinese Art

“…our teacher demonstrated the techniques of Chinese painting. This sealed my understanding of Chinese art work, the way his hands flowed at different rhythms and varied speeds with more pressure or less pressure was amazing. ” [Read more...]


NSLI-Y Group Visited Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Part 2)

(Continued from part 1) After lunch it was the culture exchange program. A teacher from Zhen Hua School demonstrated Chinese painting. The teacher finished a beautiful painting of lotus and presented to NSLI-Y as a gift. In the previous day Jake just learned how to paint orchid so he volunteered to paint. His Chinese painting performance was a highlight of the day and he painted an orchid as a culture exchange gift for Zhen Hua School in return.

Students watch teacher from Zhen Hua School demonstrating Chinese painting.

Zhen Hua Principal gives the painting to Dr. Chen as a gift to NSLI-Y.

Jake painted an orchid as an exchange gift from NSLI-Y to Zhen Hua School

Next it was a game session – I play and you guess. Participants paired up for the game. First a word would show up on the big screen. One participant facing the screen would use gesture and/or posture to describe the word without saying it out. The other participant with back to the screen would guess what word his or her partner was acting upon. Team who guessed the most words won. The challenging part of the game was the interpretation of both English and Chinese words. Sometimes students knew what their partners were doing in English but could not describe it in Chinese. However it was really fun. In the end, winners of the game received two paintings from the teachers of Zhen Hua School as prizes.

Students are having fun playing the game “I play and you guess”.

You play and I guess

Winners of the team who guessed the most word got a painting as souvenir.

Another winning team.

After game it was free play time and NSLI-Y students showed off their talents. Megan sang a Chinese nursery rhyme “Little Bunny” and it was really good. Next Nicky performed a popular Chinese song “The Mouse loves Rice”. Later Twelve students performed Taiji together. The NSLI-Y students only have taken less than six hours’ Taiji class but their performances were just like they’ve been praccting Taiji for long time.

Students perform group Taiji after only six hours of practice.

Taiji performance.

Last but not least, it was a reflection session. Delmar and Lauren talked about their experience with NSLI-Y in China in English. Rohan specifically talked about what he felt about China and this experience.

Around 3:00PM, the culture exchange program ended with a group picture on Zhen Hui campus. All students enjoyed the day.

(The end)


NSLI-Y Group Visited Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Part 1)

On August 2nd, the NSLI-Y group was invited to visit Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Zhen Hua School) located in Pudong District. Faculties and students from the School prepared an unique party for the students to experience lives in a Shanghai professional school.

Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School was established in 1985 and is a State-recognized Key School in the midst of the top secondary schools in Shanghai.The school offer classes in 16 majors and specialized fields. Now the school has enrolled near 3,800 students in 85 classes with 190 faculties and staff.

NSLI-Y students visited Zhen Hua School

Principal of Zhen Hua school, Mr. Yangxing Chen used to go to school together with and is an old friend of NSLI-Y’s director, Dr. Jianguo Chen. He planned the NSLI-Y group’s visit very thoughtfully. At 10:00 AM, the program officially kicked off in the Multipurpose Room of the school. Principal Chen made welcome speech and expressed his hope for more exchange programs between Chinese and American students like this in the future. Dr. Chen introduced the NSLI-Y program to Zhen Hua’s faculty and staff. Student representative Brydon spoke in Chinese to express appreciation to Zhen Hua School.

Principal of Zhen Hua School, Mr. Yangxing Chen, welcomed NSLI-Y students.

Dr. Chen, NSLI-Y Diector and Prof. Wang, Chinese teacher and life support coordinator, introduced NSLI-Y to Zhen Hua’s faculty and staff.

Student representative Brydon spoke in Chinese at the beginning of the program.

The theme of the program is “Taste of China”. On the big screen a recent popular documentary in China “A Bite of China” is playing. Two faculty members of Zhen Hua School introduced two famous dished in Chinese cuisine to all students in English: Yangzhou Fried Rice and Dongpo Pork. At first glance it seems both dishes are really simple. However they both have hundreds years of history and were created by famous historical figures.

Yangzhou Fried Rice was originated more than 1,400 years ago in Sui Dynasty. It is said that Duke Yang Su, a powerful general in the Chu Region really liked fried rice with eggs, bacons and vegetables. Emperor Yang of Sui later brought the dish to City of Yangzhou when he was inspecting the region. Later on various of recipes of the fried rice were developed and Yangzhou Fried Rice became a popular dish and a trademark for Yangzhou.

Zhen Hua’s teacher introduced the history and recipe of Yangzhou Fried Rice

Dongpo Pork was named after Su Dongpo, a renowned artist and writer in Song Dynasty 950 years ago. Su invented the dish and it was also his personal favorite. From stories of the two dishes students got an idea of the rich history and characteristics of Chinese cuisine and food culture. Learning about the stories also make the tasting of food more fun.

Zhen Hua’s teacher introduced the history and receipe of Dongpo Pork

Next, teachers from Zhen Hua School demonstrated food carving and baking techniques. They made phoenix, gold fishes, peaches out of flour and vegetables. The food looked so vivid and exquisite! Students wanted to try themselves after watching the demonstration too. Tim, Jay and Megan made some really nice “gold fishes” using flour! Lastly, they got to taste the food. Zhen Hua School prepared 24 dishes for students. It was just an incredible feast for them!

Amazing food carving demonstration by Zhen Hua’s teachers.

A Phoenix made out of radish and carrots

Beautiful Phoenix dish made out of vegetables.

Gold fish dumplings

Tim and Jay are so proud of the gold fish dumplings they made out from scratch.

Megan and Tim are really good at making the gold fish dumplings.

Zhen Hua School provided a feast for NSLI-Y students.

(To be continued)


NSLI-Y Student Writings: Beijing Trip

Students from Class 2 wrote about their trips to Beijing last week. Their Chinese have improved significantly. Click on the picture below to see their handwriting and essays in Chinese.

Journals in Chinese


NSLI-Y Students Learned to Paint Orchids the Chinese Way

In the afternoon on August 1st, in the Chinese culture class, Professor Naishu Sun from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts at Fudan University taught students how to paint orchids the Chinese way – using brush and ink.

First Professor Sun introduced the differences between Chinese paintings and its Western counterparts. Besides different materials used for painting, the most significant aspect that differentiates Chinese painting from Western style is the concept behind it: Western paints emphasize on vivid and true-to-fact interpretation of the objects, while Chinese painting focuses on spiritual resemblance of the objects and a “freehand” way of interpretation.

Next, Professor Sun introduced the “Four Treasures of the Study” in Chinese culture and demonstrated the use of the “four treasures” in painting Chinese orchids. Students followed Professor Sun to paint orchids and they did great jobs. The paintings by Emma and Johanna even got appraises from Professor Sun for the idea of “spiritual resemblance”. It seemed many students have grasped the essence of Chinese painting. It was amazing. The group held their paintings and took pictures with Professor Sun.

Dr. Chen and Prof. Sun from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts introduced Chinese painting to students.

Students watch Prof. Sun paint.

Emma’s and Johanna’s paintings were ones of those selected by Prof. Sun from all students’ paintings.

Jake’s orchid is a good one too.

A super genius artistic group!


NSLI-Y Is Back to Shanghai

It was the last day in Beijing for the NSLI-Y group on July 30. Although it was a little bit tired but everyone felt they had learned a lot in the short five-day trip. The experience in Beijing have broadened their knowledge and understanding of China and its history, culture and current situation.

Three students caught cold and had fever during the trip. Dr. Chen was very concerned about them. He asked Ms. Wang and Miss Fu to take care of the sick students in the hotel, and to keep in touch with their parents. Fortunately their illness was not serious; now they are all recovered after the rest.

The high speed train back to Shanghai wouldn’t depart until 4:00pm. So in the morning all students slept late to catch up some much needed rest. From 9:30 to 12:30 the group went shopping at Silk Street Market again. Students not only bought something they liked, they also practiced what they had learned in the class. It just felt satisfying to bargain in Chinese!

At 2:30pm, the group arrived at the train station one and half hour earlier. The train set off on time. This returning train only stopped three times, so the whole trip only took 4 hours and 45 minutes to arrive at Shanghai. We had dinner on the train. Ms. Zhang, Miss Wang and Miss Bao from East China Normal University picked up the group at Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station. By 10:00 PM, the group has arrived at the dorms on ECNU campus, where they are going to spend the last two weeks continuing learning Chinese.

This is the head of the high speed train that the group was taking for the Shanghai-Beijing trip.

Students carried bags of souvenirs they bought in Beijing, waiting to be cleared at the train station.

Students arrived at Shanghai safe and sound.



NSLI-Y Group Visited the National Museum, the Bird’s Nest and the Summer Palace

July 29th. It’s a sunny day after a few days of rain and it made the NSLI-Y group all feel good. At 9:00 am, the group headed out to the National Museum of China on the eastern side of Tiananmen Square. The museum was established in 2003 after the merge of the Museum of the Chinese Revolution in the northern wing and the National Museum of Chinese History in the southern wing. The museum underwent renovation from March 2007 to the end of 2010 and reopened in March 2011. It now has a total floor space of nearly 200,000 square meters for exhibitions and displays and is the home of more than one million artifacts and antiques in forty-eight galleries, of which the the bronzes, porcelains, paintings and calligraphy, and sculptures are the most magnificent. The interior of the museum is spacious and modern. After two hours, students were still having fun.

In front of the National Museum of China

After lunch, the group visited Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed as the Bird’s Nest, the stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Students have seen the Bird’s Nest on Television for many times. Now they stood in front of the stadium and could still feel the atmosphere of the games four years ago.

Students visited Beijing National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest.

On the Bird’s Nest campus

At 4:00 pm in the afternoon, the group arrived at the Summer Palace for the last stop of the day. The Summer Palace is the largest and most well-reserved royal gardens in China. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. It is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its master Chinese landscape garden design. The Summer Palace was first built in 1750 and was demolished and rebuilt several times in the past. The most beautiful scene in the garden is Kunming Lake and the long corridors surrounding the lake. It just felt relaxing sitting on the benches of the corridors and watching people boating in the lake.

Summer time at the Summer Palace

Lotus blossom in Kunming Lake