Holly: On our trip so far: we arrived on Tuesday evening (6pm in China) where we quickly dropped off our bags at the hotel and had a welcome dinner with our Chinese buddies. The dinner was really great; it was on the campus about a five minute walk from the hotel. The dinner was a range of Chinese food which was placed on a round table where the centre span! We picked at different foods that we liked. It was at this point we started to get to know the Chinese buddies who would be accompanying us for the next two weeks. We decided to break the ice a bit and played a game and learnt the first five numbers in Chinese.
On the second day, we got the chance to tour around the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. We learnt about the four main roles within Chinese theatre, and the lady who taught us had been studying for 10 years and was graduating the next day. They spend two years learning the basics of theatre, and the rest of their study is spent studying one particular role in the opera which they choose. They are required to do seven years before they can perform professionally on stage.
During this tour, we also got to see some traditional costumes that they could wear on stage. The head pieces were around 13 to 15kg, most of these were all hand sown together with real gold and silver wrapped silk threads.
Rosy: I personally enjoyed learning about the history of theatre as I’ve never learnt about it before. It was very cultural and gave us an insight into the Chinese way of learning. My experience as a whole so far is a very positive one. The food and culture is completely different to the UK and I’m enjoying learning the different ways of life.
Anita: In the evening we ate noodles locally, which was a great opportunity to experience local culture and cuisine, even if it was slightly spicy! However it was not as much of a shock to eat, compared to breakfast this morning when the noodles contained chunks of chilli peppers!
Katy: Today we have done some Chinese lessons; one on culture in China, one about Chinese conversation, learning basic phrases such as hello and what is your name, just like doing French at school! Then in the afternoon cooking Chinese dishes which we got to then eat for our dinner.
In the evening we went to do some karaoke. Our buddies were much better singers than we were!
When you go to the karaoke which is called KTV, you have to hire a room rather than going to a bar like back in England which was a very strange concept, this helped us get to see our buddies outside their academic environment and the ‘real’ then so-to-speak.
Tomorrow we have more Chinese lessons and then we are going sightseeing over the weekend.