“Green Drive” at Xiamen University
By Young Journalist_Erica Juarez, July 1, 2019
Today, July 1st, Monday. Marked with expected humidity and stunned by clear skies.
It’s been one week since our arrival in China. Finally, I adjusted to the dramatic time difference, and the sound of a blaring alarm to yet another eventful day became less of a nuisance.
On our way to breakfast at the cafeteria, the campus of Xiamen University welcomes us with the usual warmth from the sun and cries from the cicadas. Generously, the cafeteria offered their traditional Chinese buffet-like meal options, with each meal given as heaps upon heaps.
After breakfast, students would meet, in small groups, with Head Chaperone, Ms. Evangelista, for “E-portfolio Session”, which is where students have the opportunity to discuss their emotions and thoughts on this journey so far. Many students discussed the way they felt about the dorms and the weather.
Class is then held at its usual time until lunch. Depending on the level of Chinese each student is placed in, the three different classes have their own unique pace and lessons focused on. This way, classes are designed to strengthen our skills in the most productive way possible.
Following our class is lunch back at the cafeteria. Energized again, students are ready to attend an hour long Chinese culture lesson given by Dr. Chen. Today, we explored the history of China through the entire known timeline of several dynasties.
After the lecture, students go to their interest groups of either handwork or calligraphy, where passionate college students share their knowledge among us.
Back to our assigned classrooms, students attended a tutoring session, where students get the opportunity to work in small groups with Xiamen college students. During this session, English is limited as an attempt to further push us to explore our skills almost entirely in Chinese. However, this can be a challenge at times due to language barriers. On the bright side, I feel like this directly trains our pronunciation to become stronger.
The most thrilling part of the day was the community service project held at the campus. With our assigned groups, we were given the task to go around the pond centralized in the campus to collect trash on the floors. Despite the heat, we all enthusiastically searched through and out. Our strenuous efforts were rewarded with the relieving sight of the several bags of trash each group collected. The sense of environmental awareness strengthened, teaching us to be more careful with our trash.
As the day came to a close, dinner was the last thing on our schedule. Back at the cafeteria, the sight of the heaps of food satisfied our hungry eyes and filled our stomachs. Full and content, we all headed on our own ways until curfew hit. Whether it be at the pond with the black swans or the market street with snacks. We made it through another day.