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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

The day was not over yet! Once dinner was finished it wasn't long before closing ceremonies started, and we would finally get to showcase our Canadian performance we had been working so hard on. We went back to our dorms and quickly got into our costumes, returning to the second floor to the auditorium. We sat in theatre seats, in our Bus groups to watch the show.

To start off there was a video about China, beginning with the history and the way culture has grown to the present, now with technological achievements and advanced architecture. It showed that China was modernized and ever advancing, but they still embraced their tradit...

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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Soon it was lunchtime, and the chaos calmed down to refuel itself. At least, it was all now concentrated into the cafeteria with metal trays of rice and assorted items. And, of course, the fluffy cakes.

Right after lunch Bus number 16 met up to say a goodbye to our bus mates, and our beloved tour guide Jack. Here we had more lots more hugging and even a bit of crying as Jack gave one last speech. I would miss hearing his voice on the microphone during my half asleep dazedness on the bus.

At about 2:00 the auditorium on the second floor opened up for the much awaited friendship carnival. I had been excited about this since th...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

I never realized the importance in the art of selfie taking, never conceived that the skill of holding a phone away from ones face to take a picture would come in handy later in my life. When taking a group selfie, it takes a good deal of skill to keep your arm at the right distance, and the phone tilted at a realistic angle. There are many factors involved, to keep everyone’s faces in proportion, in good lighting, and everyone looking at the camera. Today, my selfie taking skills were put to the ultimate test.

After breakfast, everyone seemed to realize that all these people we had met, all the great friends we'd made were all goi...

Category: Student Blog
Julia Scott Lenz
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By Julia Scott Lenz, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Around three and a half years ago, I packed my mom’s sedan with everything I thought I needed to start university. Every piece of clothing, every sentimental postcard, every favourite book, and then we drove for hours. Eventually, I lugged every single bin and bag up to the 4th floor of my new building and into my very own dorm room. It was my first time living on my own and it was so exciting to be in a new city with a few of my closest friends, starting at a new school, and taking my first steps into the so-called adult world.

Now, I’m packing yet again to move away from home into a dorm room at a university at the end of this week. This time around, I’m ca...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, Beijing Capital Museum
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

After lunch we spent three hours at the Beijing Capital Museum. The building was massive, seven stories high with flights of escalators for each floor. There was a huge circular wall up one end of the building, containing spiral hallways leading to different circular rooms within. Two sides of the building were all glass windows looking out into the city. There were many different rooms with historical artifacts and information on old China.

Many elementary schoolers were there on school field trips, and we're very interested in taking selfies with us. Despite all the interesting exhibits on every floor, by the end of touring aroun...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

6:15 AM. I open my eyes, making out the ceiling through the dim room. I lie flat on my back, spine uncomfortably straight on the wooden board. The snores of three others gently rise and fall under thin blankets. I swivel into sitting position, thin blanket slipping off my shoulders. My bare-feet touch cold white stone floor tiles. I stand, gently move a few steps, and assume a crouching position at the charging station. A voltage converting power bar plugged into an unusual Chinese outlet, with the cords of my dorm’s devices coming off like the tentacles of a jellyfish. My right hand picks up my iPod, while I push my bangs out of my face...

Category: Student Blog
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

On the bus ride home I was in need of a distraction to take my mind off horrible visions of myself at 80, showing my grandchildren my antique fidget spinners collection now taking over my house, dust-ridden spinners causing my single cat to sneeze with distaste. As had been on our previous bus rides, Jack offered open mic to anyone willing to entertain us during the long hours. I took my sudden need of a distraction to be brave and share my geeky side with the fellow students.

Smiling mischievously I read from the screen of my iPod, reciting the Periodic Table song (unfortunately I’m not cool enough to have it memorized). I managed...

Category: Student Blog
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

I was familiar with the silk market of Shanghai and assumed this one would be along the same lines. Lots of little stores and tables set up, slightly aggressive and loud vendors with steel looks that could make me shiver despite the thirty-five-degree heat. Bargaining skills a must, unless you were okay with paying more than the price in Canada. Preferable to have good judgement for the value of sale items.

What I was not expecting was the wall of fidget spinners, hundreds of fidget spinners. More than just every colour of the rainbow, numerous shapes, sizes, and materials. Some with gears, some light aluminium, some tempered rainb...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

As a little kid I used to create menus, usually for my dream restaurant that would serve every one of my favourite foods, from Mac and cheese to Nanaimo bars. These menus were written in different coloured markers, under the category of lunch breakfast, dinner, and dessert. On the dessert menu, of all the possible ice cream flavours I could have desired, green bean was not the first that came to mind. It wasn't even the forty fifth I thought of. However, here in the summer palace of Beijing, I wonder why I had never thought of it. Of course it would be a great ice cream flavour! China has thought of everything I realized, from the moments...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

There was lots of extra time and I got talking to one of our instructors, who was actually only 17. He and his friends were from Beijing and were volunteering for this camp to gain more experience with international programs. They were planning on applying to English universities overseas and wanted something that would set them apart on their application. They explained to me that only a small percent of international students from Asia have a chance of getting into universities in the US and they have a lot of other Asian countries to compete against.

It was one of the conversations where I felt I had a look at the real China. Th...

Category: Student Blog

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