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Bi-Cultural Studies Programme Trip 2023

Updated: May 6

Written by: Poon Ky-shan (23S6F)

Edited by: Wayne Tan (23S66)

 

As part of the Bicultural Studies Program, a group of 64 students embarked on a 22-day journey to China.

 

Xiamen - A Historical Venture


The trip started with our arrival in Xiamen, Zhangzhou, and Quanzhou, China. Firstly, we arrived at Tan Kah Kee’s memorial hall in Jimei. More than 100 years ago, Tan Kah Kee knew that education was the foundation of national progress and strength. For this reason, he worked hard and took the lead in establishing the Overseas Chinese Middle School, making outstanding contributions to the education systems in Singapore and China.

 

In the memorial hall, students listened attentively to the special report "The Legendary Life of Tan Kah Kee"; in Ao Yuan, the students collectively bowed three times in front of Tan Kah Kee's tomb and sang "All the Rivers Are Red" to commemorate his admirable contributions.

 

In Xiamen, everyone has truly felt the integration of tradition and innovation. Under the exterior of a sprawling metropolis, a rich history lies within, sustaining the beating heart of the city today.

 

Shenzhen - A Tech Hub


Subsequently, we went to Shenzhen, an emerging immigrant city. As the epicentre of modern China's reform and "opening-up" movement, it is known as "China's Silicon Valley" due to the presence of many well-known Chinese companies. In Shenzhen, we spent more than a week visiting several well-known local technology giants and at the same time, we held discussions with the High School Affiliated to Southern University of Science and Technology. The first company that we visited was UBITECH.


As a pioneer and leader in the field of global artificial intelligence and service robot technology, UBITECH has had extraordinary achievements in the research, development and manufacturing of humanoid robots. Walking into the exhibition hall, China's only panda robot immediately piqued everyone's interest. Not only was it extremely cute in appearance, it also employed advanced visual and voice technology, and could interact with people, as well as followed instructions to complete many tasks. At present, the company has expanded its services to meet a wide range of needs, such as the development of intelligent robots for elderly care. This gave students a deep appreciation of the endless possibilities for innovation in the field of intelligent services.

 

School Exchange Programme


At the High School Affiliated to Southern University of Science and Technology, we held academic discussions and worked on research projects with their students. We also listened to speeches on AI technology delivered by the technology expert, Professor Yao Xin. The activities planned there were fun and fruitful. Students also enjoyed the delicious food in the high-tech canteen of Southern University of Science and Technology, where the clever adoption of technology enhanced our dining experiences and blew everyone away.

 

The eight-day trip to Shenzhen really made the teachers and students of Central China feel the famous "Shenzhen speed” firsthand, and also helped everyone realise the true meaning of "bilingual and bicultural, an infinite world of possibilities”.

 

Guizhou - Community Outreach


After finishing our trip to Xiamen and Shenzhen, China, we came to the last stop - Xiasi Primary School in Xiasi Ancient Town, Kaili City, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou to carry out volunteer teaching activities.

 

On November 28, the immersion program officially launched a week-long volunteer teaching program in Xiasi Ancient Town. As soon as we entered the campus, we were warmly welcomed by the students from Xiasi Primary School. We were all flattered to see the schoolchildren wearing bright ethnic costumes to welcome us. Lin Fangzhe (23A12) said: "They were dressed up and lined up on the hillside, playing drums, harps and shengs. They were full of a sense of ceremony. It was so touching." This grand welcoming ceremony helped us feel the warmth and enthusiasm of the locals.

 

We then entered the class and played the role of little “teachers”. The children's naiveté and sincerity quickly broke the ice of the first meeting, and any feelings of awkwardness were quickly replaced by overwhelming kindness and warmth. During the few days of volunteer teaching, we taught elementary school students basic English and played various games after class, completely transcending cultural and language barriers.

 

Experiencing the Village Life


In addition to supporting educational activities, the immersion group also went to nearby villages to experience the farm life, following farmers to dig sweet potatoes, pick vegetables, pick oranges, make glutinous rice cakes, and make noodles... It was a great time. The students also went to some farmhouses with cooking oil, milk, snacks and other supplies, and were warmly received and sincerely thanked by the hosts. During a conversation with them, the students learned that China carried out "targeted poverty alleviation", where poor local families received more financial support that improved their lives.

 

Over the weekend, teachers and students from Central China visited Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, Xiaoqikong and other scenic spots to appreciate Guizhou’s beautiful natural landscape and unique customs. The night before the trip ended, local town leaders prepared a mysterious surprise for the students. With the sound of "Bang! Bang!", gorgeous fireworks lit up the entire night sky. For a time, the sky was filled with hundreds of flowers, which was spectacular. The fireworks that night marked a splendid end to this immersion trip and left us with everlasting memories.

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