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China Twinning Programme 2015

China Twinning Programme 2015


Day 1: 24 October 2015

Hi!  Greetings from Changsha!

We had a very smooth journey from Singapore.  At Changsha Airport, we were touched by the warm welcome by Mr Jin (Nanya Middle School’s Principal Assistant), and Mdm Yang (EL HoD) and Mdm Liu (EL Teacher).  Immediately, we were whisked off for lunch and then our tour began.  We visited Changsha Jiandu Museum and were impressed by the large scale modern themed museum that displays bamboo scripts and historical artifacts from the Han and Three Kingdoms period. 

Then we walked across to the Tianxin Park and Pavillion and were amazed by the 200 year fortress and the unexpected delight of enjoying a 4D movie on General Guan.  After a scrumptious dinner at Yuloudong Restaurant, the group checked into Xiangfuxindu hotel.  

Day 2: 25 October 2015

After a hearty Western and Chinese buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we set off on a 1 hour 30 minutes journey to Shaoshan City.  There we visited the 10.1m Mao Zedong Bronze statue, his childhood residence and Memorial followed by his sanctuary at the Dishuidong Spot.  The whole day’s programme made the history of China come alive for Brooksians.  The detailed video clips, massive paintings, sculptures and photographs were a sight to behold.

Day 3: 26 October 2015

Within 10 minutes of leaving the hotel after breakfast, we arrived at Nanya Middle School.  Our students could not believe their eyes when they saw the huge campus.  Besides the classroom blocks, there is an Arts centre, heritage museum, sports stadium, student hostels, staff apartments, ‘’Weiming’ lake, open spaces, and the list goes on.

We were warmly welcomed by the school leaders and staff.  When our students met their buddies, the excitement and joy on their faces was a clear indication that they will be having a wonderful school and homestay experience with their newfound friends.  The day was filled with lessons on calligraphy, flower arrangement and craft-making.

At the end of the day, the Nanya students couldn’t wait to take their Brooksian buddies home and continue their hospitality in their homes. 

Day 4: 27 October 2015

The day began with a lot of excitement as Brooksians shared their experiences in their buddies’ homes.  One Brooksian shared how he had an unusual experience, he got the chance to harvest vegetables and then help with the cooking.  Another was impressed with his buddy’s home gym and heated loo seat. Several managed to do some shopping.  All in all, every Brooksian had positive things to say.

Before lunch, we visited Yali Middle School, where Brooksians had the chance to attend badminton, Wushu and table-tennis classes.  The 109 year old Yale-in-China School has an illustrious history.  Then we visited the 1000 year old former Yuelu Academy (since the Song Dynasty), which is part of Hunan University now.   Now it functions as a library.  In the late afternoon, we went to Orange Island and had the opportunity to see a huge sculpture of Mao Zedong, an image of him when he was 32 years old.  His thick hair, blowing in the wind is an unexpected feature.  Besides the sculpture, for all Brooksians, the sight of oranges laden trees was a first.  

Day 5: 28 October 2015

Brooksians made us really proud of them today!  They had two opportunities to shine, and they rose to both the occasions. 

The first occasion was at Guangming Primary School, a village school in the countryside.  In small groups, Brooksians taught in 5 classrooms.  Their lessons ranged from teaching the alphabet to shapes & sizes, colours and clothing.  Our students impressed the school staff with their confidence and ability to adapt their lessons based on the responses of their young students.

The second occasion was at the ‘Farewell Concert between Northbrooks and Nanya’.  Nanya’s Symphonic Band and singers were SYF standard, but so was the talent of our own Brooksians.  Their melodious singing and synchronised movements drew repeated applause from the audience of school leaders, hosting families, staff and students.

After the concert, it was time to bid farewell to our newfound friends. Both our Brooksians and their buddies excitedly hugged and made promises to keep in touch. Each and every one of us was touched by the generosity of the school leaders, staff, parents and students who kept showering all of us with gifts and more gifts.

Day 6: 29 October 2015

Today we travelled 6 ½ hours to Phoenix County.  Along the way, we saw mountain ranges and massive rice fields.  Upon arrival at Phoenix County, we had a chance to tour the ancient town that is hometown to one of the local ethnic minority groups, Miao.  Here, we got the chance to see local crafts and taste their speciality snack ‘ginger candy’.  We visited a couple of residences cum museums of local writer and artists.  The tour ended with an exciting boat ride on their local river, Tuo Jiang and a walk across the famous ‘rainbow’ bridge.

Day 7: 30 October 2015

After breakfast, we were back at Phoenix Square and the Rainbow Bridge.  This time, besides viewing the village and river from viewing towers, we got the chance to shop.  Besides buying ‘ginger’ candy, Brooksians shopped for shawls, keychains, bags, other snacks and souvenirs for their loved ones and friends.

After lunch, we were back on the road, heading to Changsha.  Due to the drizzle and heavy traffic, we only reached Changsha at 8.30pm.  The 8-hour journey and the warm dinner in Changsha was an excellent combination for all Brooksians to have an early night.