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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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2010 Final Reflection


by Liao,Bonnie on 2010-10-15

[The following reflection essays were written by students attending the nonprofit “YingHua in Beijing” 2010 Summer Language & Leadership Institute. Almost everyday, the students would sit in a circle to reflect on the day’s experience through writing and sharing. On the last Saturday before they went home, they were asked to reflect on their 4-week experience and what they would tell other kids about it. They were given an option to use their first names or remain anonymous. All 26 students shared their experiences here. More information, such as the institute’s daily announcements and schedule, can be found at www.yinghuasummer.org . Contact: Dr. Bonnie Liao bonnieliao@yinghua.org (609.530.0399). Please feel free to share this document with your friends.]

Andrew (15 years old)

            My feelings about this program are all extremely good. The locations, the food, and people here are by-far most of the favorite things that I’ve done the entire summer. Especially the time I’ve spent just being in China has helped my Chinese greatly by hearing and learning new words and vocabulary. This has been one of my most favorite summers I’ve ever had. I’ve been to places and seen things I would’ve never seen if I hadn’t been in the program. To anyone considering this program, I say go for it. It’s worth every penny and every minute is a new learning experience.

Benoit (16)

I like this program a lot. At this program, we have 3 weeks of class and fieldtrips and 1 week with Chinese students.

First, I thought class was not very interesting (it was like my Chinese class at school) and hard. But finally I discovered that it was very interesting for the culture (for example in my class we worked on “西游记”), for the Chinese level (I’ve learned 100 characters in only 3 days) and it’s very helpful for the fourth week.

Also, the activities we do between the classes are very interesting and let us discover the Chinese culture: calligraphy, mask painting, painting, Chinese yoyo etc…

The fieldtrips gave us very good overview of Beijing. We visit all the most important places of the city. But we also visit some places that are not very important but very beautiful.

But we don’t only visit; we also see amazing shows like: traditional Chinese opera, kungfu show, acrobatic show. So there is place for fun too.

I made a lot of friends and I think is as important as I said previously. There’s almost only Americans (I was the only European: French), so if you are not English or American, you can improve at the same time your Chinese and your English.

Making friends is one of part of communication which is one of the most important thing in leadership (leadership training is very interesting).

The 4th week is unforgettable we were with young Chinese students (almost 10 years old). They were so nice and cute, I’m very sad to have left them. PS: Stanford and Jiahongguo I’ll never forget you.

Maybe one thing I didn’t like: we stayed in the hotel too much time and I would liked to be more in contact with Chinese population.

David (13)

            At the beginning of this program, I had low expectations. The true reason I was going to this program wasn’t to learn Chinese, but to receive a cat. I wasn’t the only one who was bribed, though. Even so, I now believe that apart from getting a cat, I have learned my Chinese well and have gotten so many other assets I never thought I’d get, such as new friends, leadership training, and a whole new outlook towards the Chinese population and the world. I am grateful towards YingHua for doing this. I hope that YingHua will go on to become life-changing towards others as well.

Jack (10)

            This past month I have had a lot of fun. For example, we have gone to the Great Wall and saw a lot of great sights. Also we rode boats at Beihai Park. It was super fun!! I enjoyed meeting lots of new friends. Finally I thought the most fun part of this program was counter-strike. These are some of the examples of fun things I did at this program!!

Lin-Lin (12)

            First off, I need to say: THIS PROGRAM IS SO AWESOMELY AMAZING. I think this was one of the most fun summers I have ever had. This program is just totally unbelievable. I cannot believe how much fun I have had in these short four weeks. I wish it was longer! I love all of the field trips we took, and the people we met. This program is just SO fun and memorable! I really enjoyed when we went to the markets, and also when we visited the Great Wall. Those were my favorite trips. Overall, this summer program is completely amazing. I would definitely recommend this program to a friend, and I think I will for next year!

Mariette (8)

I am kind of sad about leaving YingHua program because we get to learn some marshal art skills, Chinese language and we get to learn how to do the Chinese yoyo and we get the puzzle man to teach us how to figure out some puzzles. I think I learned more Chinese this past month.

Max (15)

The YingHua program has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life. The reasons why I thought this was because of the kids, environment and teachers. All of the kids here are thoughtful for one another all the time. The environment is just amazing with all of the culture and sites to see. And last but not least ALL of the teachers are so helpful and kind. If you are ever considering whether or not to come to the YingHua program then I strongly advise you to come.

Ming Ming (14)

Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Going through this program has helped me to really understand this brilliant quote.

The past 4 weeks have been indescribable. I’m literally at a loss of words, because it’s impossible to describe this experience; but some words that some to mind are: life-changing, inspirational, unforgettable, touching, and LOTS of fun. Every single aspect at this program had a meaning, and every single event was both educational and enjoyable at the same time. I know for a fact that I have changed into a better leader, a better student, and into a person I want to be.

YingHua program was perfect. The hotel, the trips, the class, the people, the entire experience was absolutely perfect. Credits to Bonnie Laoshi, for hosting an astounding summer institute, that has definitely changed many people’s lives, and is one of the reasons I believe in world peace. The one and only thing I would change would be for the memory to be wiped from my memory, so that I could come back year after year to enjoy this program.

Phillip L. (14)

            Throughout this entire program I’ve made friends that will last forever and I realized although at first I thought it would be a nerd program, it was a spectacular program that teaches you Chinese and leadership lessons, life lessons, and it creates bonds between friends that would never be broken.

            Life lessons are an important aspect of your personal progression toward whatever goal you choose. I’m the type of person that likes to break rules for his own desires. However, at the end of this program, I learned that you can go much further by just being a properly mannered person.

            Chinese and leadership lessons may seem more boring than watching a blank television. However, as time progressed, the teachers made things more and more interesting and I started to learn. In addition, I learned how to focus on my task and manage my time a lot more.

            Last, friendships were made that made us bond together. I will truly miss the people and will try to stay in contact with them forever. Although that may seem unrealistic, you really become amazing friends and you get to know people.

            I don’t usually end with a conclusion this way but I really love and will miss the memories at YingHua summer program.

Phillip O. (15)

This is my 3rd time attending this summer program, and this year by far I have learned the most about Chinese culture, leadership, and most importantly myself. It was a great environment to meet new people and learn new things. Since the first day, I have enjoyed every part of this program, except for when we left our Chinese partners, but every other part.

Everyday there is something new to do and discover. The classes and fieldtrips were fantastic. I learned more Chinese in one month than I ever have in my life. The fieldtrips are sometimes hot, but very interesting and fun. Bonnie’s yellow workbook made me pay attention and learn, not just walking and admiring the scenery.

All the people I’ve met here are one of a kind and I have grown close to them. I especially like the fourth week of this program. The Chinese kids are a bit odd at first, but they are all great kids.

Learning Chinese and meeting people are only half of this program. I learned tons of things about the human mind I have never even thought about. The 10 characteristics of a good leader are great to compare and score yourself with. Also I learned about the circle of influence, and how I could influence the world. Oh and speaking of influence, if you want things done or things to happen always ask Bonnie or Mei Laoshi about it, they can talk it out.

Oh and follow all the rules. They may seem a bit dumb or strict, but you could affect tons of people and create a bad mindset if you break them. So trust me, I know this stuff. So overall, this program is an experience of a lifetime that anyone should take up if they had the chance. It will create a new, better person out of you.

Shannon (14)

            This is my 7th year in the YingHua in Beijing summer program, and, obviously, if I didn’t like it, I would have stopped coming after the first year. Even though I haven’t been to many summer programs in America, and I don’t really have anything to compare to, I still think that this is the most phenomenal program ever. Not only do you learn about the language and culture of China, which is what most people come here to do, you also learn to accept challenges, be a risk-taker, and to be a good leader to yourself and others. Though sometimes I felt pressured and tired when it came to finishing homework or going to morning exercises every day, I pushed myself to complete everything that I needed to do, which is a skill that is emphasized in this program: being a principled person and having good morals.

Many people ask me why I come to the same program every year, and if I ever get tired of it. I think that even though the schedule is basically the same, the main reason I come every year is to meet new people. The best thing about this program is that most of the people that come here every year are the most amazing and kind people you will ever meet in your life, and you will have such a strong bond with them by the end of your four weeks that you won’t even remember that none of you knew each other at the beginning.

Besides the people, there are also so many other great things about program, like the classes, the teachers, the sights, the experiences. The schedule is just brilliant, and I love our tour guides. I learn so much every time I come to program. It also improves my Chinese a lot, and I’m always glad for more reviewing opportunities. There are usually 3-4 separate classes for Chinese, so you could be a beginner or an amateur speaker, and there would definitely be a class for you. Also, the teachers always give a lot of room for improvement, which is really helpful to anyone who is striving to improve his or her Chinese studies.

Overall, this program is the best choice for basically anyone. You could have no previous experience in studying Chinese, or you could be fluent. You could be someone who likes to take risks or someone who has never left home before. This summer program will definitely change your life for the better, and I am not exaggerating at all. I recommend anyone from 8-18 to come to this program. Even though you may have some doubts about this “nerdy Chinese program” at first, I assure you that by the end of your first week, you will be totally immersed in the program, your studies, your friends, and the majestic sights of Beijing. This city, saturated with information and culture, just waiting to be experienced, has spread open her arms to the whole world, so why not enter? So many opportunities, and yet just one decision to be made, and that is to come to the YiB Summer Language and Leadership Institute.

Stephanie (13)

            Throughout these 4 weeks here at YingHua, I have learned so much. Not only has this program helped me academically, but it has also helped me socially. Here, I have learned about Chinese culture, language, leadership skills, and life lessons. But most of all, I have made great friends here whom I will remember for a lifetime.

            When I first heard about this program, I thought that it would help me improve my Chinese and allow me to see the major sites of China. However, YingHua has allowed me to do so much more. In our Chinese classes, I have felt like giving up a lot of the times, and some times I even cried. Yet, in the end, I feel so proud of myself for getting through three weeks of “D” class. When I first started out in D class, I didn’t want to try in any of the essays that were assigned because I felt like there was no point. Every time, I got really bad results on my essays, and I felt kinda bad. Still, I didn’t think that it was worth it to try in my essays, because I assumed that I would get a bad grade anyways. However, that day we had a leadership class, and in it we learned about the growth and fixed mindsets. I realized that I should always try on my work, because even if I didn’t get a good grade, I would feel good about myself. That night, I worked extremely hard on my essay, and stayed up really late. When I turned in my essay, I felt prepared to get a bad grade, yet I was proud of myself for trying very hard. In the end, I didn’t get an extremely good grade on my essay, but still I felt happy because I pushed myself to do my best.

            I feel like my Dong Dong experience here has taught me the most. When I first saw my room in Huairou, I was appalled and shocked. I really doubted if I could survive the next week. However, throughout the week, I learned to appreciate my life in America and the Yong An hotel. During the trip, I dreaded taking showers because I thought that they were gross. However, in the middle of the trip I realized that so many other people in this world couldn’t even take showers. In the end, I decided to make the most out of my trip and I enjoyed it a lot more.

            This program has helped me so much and I will miss everyone here.

Teddy (15)

This program was a very interesting and fun program. Classes and activities are extremely fun. The people are also very nice, both the teachers and the students. During my time at the YingHua Summer Program, the people felt like my brothers and sisters. I think this program should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

Tristan (12)

            I have thoroughly enjoyed this program. I have improved on everything including personality, Chinese, myself, endurance, etc. This program teaches one everything he or she should know the people are great. I have made life-long friends in this program and I really feel a strong connection with almost everyone here. The field trips are amazing and I have enjoyed everyone. I have had the privilege to go to the most amazing and unique places in the world. This program is one that you should definitely go to.

            I have to say my favorite day was when we went to the Temple of Heaven. We kicked off the day by going to Jingshan Park where the last emperor of the Ming dynasty hung himself. We got to see the entire Forbidden City, and it was a sight I will never forget. Then we went to the Temple of Heaven, where the emperors prayed two times a year. We saw the Echo Wall and all of the temples. One could just feel the sacredness of the amazing place. After that we saw an acrobatics show, which looked almost impossible. I am reflecting on this day because this was my favorite day.

            I will definitely recommend this program to everyone. One will change as a person for the better. I will be coming back. Heck yeah.

Victor (8)

I thought this program was very helpful to my Chinese studies. It was nice of the teacher to speak with Chinese to us, and when we didn’t know what she was saying, she translated in English. I also thought it was good to have fieldtrip days and school days, it was nice because it made it more exciting and educational because we had the yellow books to have us pay better attention to the sites. I would like to really thank Jason to be our tour guide because he explained the sites even he probably has been to them so many times and gotten bored of them. I would also like to thank him because we have been talking so much when he was talking. So this program has been as good as my brother was saying when he gets home from trips to this program.

Victoria (14)

            In general my feelings for this program are mixed. There were good and bad times. I really liked meeting new people and making many new friends from many different places. Overall, most of my feelings for this program are positive.

            Over the month that I have been in the program, there are certain times that stick out. On the first day most of us were nervous. Nervous about program, the food, and the people we were spending a month with. Most of us bonded in our first night while eating our first dinner together. But for some people, we didn’t get to meet the people until we found out who our roommates were.

            The people here are great. By the first week it didn’t feel like we had been together for that short period of time. It felt like I had known the people in my group for at least 3 weeks. We had a lot of fun times together.

            Something that I had to get used to was the fourth week. It was very strange living with younger Chinese students. Usually, the age gap between you and your Chinese roommates was at least a year or two. If you had younger kids, you felt like you had to babysit them. The living conditions weren’t that great either. The bathrooms were disgusting and the rooms were dark and smelly. Your roommates were almost glued to the TV. But then, you have to realize that their culture is different from an American’s culture. They do and say things differently. They may act weird and stupid to you but to other Chinese people it’s perfectly normal. Some of the stuff Americans do seems weird and stupid to them. So in the end, we have to accept that we may never grow to learn the culture no matter how much time you spend studying the country. What really matters is what you make of you situation.

            This program has changed me a lot. I thought before doing my automatic thinking. I’m learning to expand my emotional intelligence and develop better leadership skills. I’ve stopped complaining about petty things that I don’t really have any control over. In the end, I’m still the same person just I’ve, changed some of my points of view.

            I think this is a very good program to go to especially if you really want to learn about a new culture. I would recommend that you know some basic Chinese or you have an English to Chinese dictionary. This would make the program a little easier for you. This program impacts older kids better than younger kids usually. Plus, the older kids might get a little bit more out of the program. I don’t know if I am coming back to the program (maybe in a few years when I know better Chinese). Overall though, I thought the program was pretty good.

William (12)

I feel this program taught me a lot and then led me use what I learned.

For example, I got the top test score in my class with a ninety four on materials that we used many, many times throughout the period. I used the materials I learned during the 4th week in Huairou.

I would definitely recommend this program to someone because it covers all the aspects of Chinese culture, language, and adds fun to the mix. I have really enjoyed program this year.

Anonymous

I think this summer program is like a fun adventure, because you visit so many places, and learn a lot while you’re there. I also think the activities we do in a class are really fun. You also learn lots of cool leadership things here. You also learn how to solve some Chinese puzzles. I also got more risk-taking with certain things. I strongly recommend this program.

Anonymous

This program has been a great month with everyone. The students this year were all uber friendly and full of energy. Leaving everyone will be heartbreaking since most live far from our state which is. I’ve learned so much from this program and I will definitely be able to use the knowledge I have obtained in real life.

The CS game with the Dongdong kids was really fun and should definitely be a keeper. This is the best program ever and I would definitely recommend someone to come.

Anonymous

            Though I did learn a lot about the Chinese language and culture, I feel that I learned the most about life in general.

            Let’s start with the cultural aspect. In all honesty, I did learn a lot. I learned maybe a few hundred words by ear, and several, maybe 70 by writing. My accent also got much better, in my opinion. Learning some stories in the Chinese class (Xi You Ji, 36 Ji, Changlang Gushi) also helps my learning. In addition, the Chinese class was slightly above my level, challenging me and stimulating my thinking (I ended with a somewhat respectable score of 85.5). The Huairou Chinese kids also brought some culture and accent elimination practice with them.

            I like that I met many interesting, new people at this program. I’ve learned many lessons from their presence. I learned about jealousy as I fought with a friend over a girl. I learned about love, regarding the same girl (possibly; as of this writing I am 14). I learned about being nice and how I’m not very nice after being lectured after a selfish rule break, and being confident, and how I’m very cowardly in conversation. I tried to learn about being a good friend, but it was difficult. I learned how to climb the social ladder, though I could never climb to that girl I like. I learn quite a bit about myself along the way, and learned my flaws and errors. I bonded with lots of the kids here, and I am truly sad that we are parting. Though there are only ever a few people your age, you end up becoming very close to them.

Anonymous

            I think that the program really helps with leadership skills. The leadership lessons have helped me learn how to be a better leader. I think when we went to Huairou with the Chinese, I feel like I was leading them into good things, except Tristan, who corrupted Leo’s mind partly. I feel like I did a better job looking over them, looming over their heads. I would recommend this program to my friends and their parents. This is a place where you can learn leadership skills and make new relationships. Overall, I would hope to come back next year to learn everything again and improve my skills.

Anonymous

            Wow. Tomorrow is the last day of this summer program. Honestly I have no idea what I’m gonna feel tomorrow. Everyone parting, everyone leaving. Maybe I’ll be happy, maybe I’ll be sad. But the only thing I’m sure of is what I felt throughout the entire program.

            At first, like the first day or two, I thought the program was awesome. Excellent rooms, healthy, delicious food, plenty of fun activities, etc. Then, I noticed the way everyone was treating me and my roommates. Because we were the youngest, they ignored us. At lunch, when we sat at a table, everyone originally sitting there would get up and walk away. When we asked if we could join a game, we got a sea of shaking heads saying no, absolutely not. I was so unhappy; I couldn’t enjoy the activities anymore. The teachers were making it worse; whenever we went out of the hotel to do some stuff, they treated us differently because we were younger and more “fragile”. I got sick, and had to go back home to rest for five days. I was ecstatic.

            On the last day of resting at home, my parents asked me why I hated the program so much. I told them how unpopular my roommates and I were, and how it was ruining everything. I still remember their reply: “Nobody can ruin anything for you. Only you can ruin something for yourself.” With these words still in my mind, I went back to the summer program.

            That night, we were doing something called reflections. We all sat in a circle and reflected on our previous day. I didn’t know why my parents’ words affected me so much, but I knew it was good advice. That night, though I didn’t reflect, I thought about what I could do to make my experience better. I planned ahead, but I also hoped. I hoped.

            Starting from that day, things actually got better, because I didn’t ruin it myself. The program’s activities became more exciting, more fun, and I had a good time. And tomorrow, when everyone leaves, when everyone parts, I know that I’ll still miss them. And I know, even though I had bad experiences, I also had good ones. And I most definitely know, I will try my best to come back next year. I hope.

            (One piece of advice: don’t ruin your experience yourself. Don’t blame others for what you did yourself. Good luck!)

Anonymous

            Overall, YingHua in Beijing was one of the greatest summers I have spent. It was a fun experience overall and I really enjoyed it. Before I came, I didn’t know what to expect, and the first few days were a bit doubtful. Later on, I started to really get into this program and loved the field trips. I learned a lot in classes and the teachers are truly inspirational. Liao Laoshi is someone I admire and look up to even if it may not show. From the way she handles situations and her life lessons, it seems like she always knows what to do. I couldn’t think of anyone better to run a program like this other than her. I appreciate her effort in trying to lead us onto the right path and she’s changed my perspective.

The field trips she planned were extremely fun, even if the heat was unbearable. I really enjoyed the Forbidden City and the science museum and I had a great time. The first weeks were pretty much the same; classes and some field trips. But the 4th week is something that was very different. We stayed at a mountaineering training base with Chinese buddies. I can’t say I liked it that much, but it was a good experience and a program that most programs don’t offer. I learned a lot about the Chinese culture during those five days from actual experience and I know not many people may have this opportunity. I feel very fortunate to be here and I have taken away so much from YingHua.

At times, YingHua can get frustrating because of the endless rules and regulations, but they are there for health and safety reasons and to make sure we’re okay. I have met many amazing people and have seen breath-taking sights. I 100% recommend this to anyone who is willing to learn Chinese and culture, or just someone looking for a good time.

YingHua teaches you on how to become a leader and that to become so, you have to start with having confidence with yourself and that leadership isn’t just something you’re born with, but something you need to work for. We began our leadership training by discussing characteristics of a leader and evaluating ourselves according to these characteristics. I have learned a lot about myself that I didn’t realize before. Along with learning Chinese, YingHua is also helping you discover yourself and making you a better person with risk-taking and being inquisitive. I’d like to thank Liao Laoshi and all the teachers that made this possible and I won’t forget these last 4 weeks.

Anonymous

            YingHua summer program is a great experience. The four weeks passed by so quickly and I’m wishing for the fifth week. I absolutely LOVE the people here. Because of the only 20-30 of us, we grew really close. My roommates were the greatest. I’ll miss Jess so much! (She lives all the way over in Chicago.)

            Besides the people, you also learn a lot. The teachers are really nice, and we went all over the place. I learned so much about Chinese history and culture during my stay here. Our field trips are all over the place and I got to visit most major Beijing sites like the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. The architecture is amazing! There’s so much history located in these places as well as great ideas like the Echo Wall.

            Shopping is definitely a new experience, since you get to bargain. There are many different kinds of store owners. Some are really nice, while others will kick you out of their store for touching their products too much. It’s definitely fun though, as long as you have friends with you.

            I LOVE everyone here. They’re so awesome, and I really wish to spend more time with them. Whatever you don’t like about YingHua is made up by the people here. I can’t believe that it’s been a month already. It’s been an absolutely different experience, but an amazing one.

Anonymous

            I think that this summer program is a really great way to learn the Chinese language and culture. The Chinese teachers are all really nice and understand how to teach different students. We not only have Chinese class and go to famous places, we also have “cultural classes” (martial arts, calligraphy, etc.) and go to Chinese markets so we can truly understand Chinese culture. In the last week, we see how much we know about Chinese culture by interacting with Chinese kids. We also have intercultural communication sessions, where we get to know why our cultures are so difference and why there isn’t world peace.

            This language and leadership institute also teaches every student to realize him/herself. We have leadership classes, which help us think about how we can become a great leader and how we ourselves think. We learn about EQ (Emotional Intelligence), which made me think about how I can become a better person and learner. We talked about mindsets and how they affect how hard you try, not how smart you are; that really made me determined to try harder in everything. Every night, we have reflection. It’s an activity we all do as a group, in which we reflect on anything that touched us or what possibly changed what we thought of something. When I hear the other students’ reflections, it always surprises me how deep they think even about a small thing that happened during the day. When we were in Huairou for the last week, I learned a lot about endurance and perseverance and how it all helps in the long run.

            I recommend this program to anyone who is interested in learning Chinese language, and up for any challenge. I hope I can come back next year with my friends, because I really think this is a really fun program.

Anonymous

            This YingHua experience has been amazing. When I first came here, I was unfamiliar with the Chinese ways and customs. YingHua taught me to have an open mind and to look at things from a different perspective. I feel that my view of China has changed dramatically. This is because I have learned not to judge people just because they are different. One main reason why this has been such a good experience is because of how close you grow to everyone. I feel like these people are my family, and I am very reluctant to leave this program. Every night is so much fun because we play games and hang out in the lobby. YingHua not only improves your Chinese, but it is a place to meet new people with the same goal as you – to learn more about China. This month has passed by so quickly, and I am really glad that I had the opportunity to come. Almost every couple of days, we went on a field trip visiting various Beijing landmarks and specialties. This program has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day the experience is worth it. If anyone is thinking of coming to this program, I highly recommend it. I love this place. I love the people. I love YingHua!

 


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