CULTURAL EXCHANGES


This page will be used for sharing information about our cultural exchange programs. The first is with the Shanghai American School. This school, PreK-12 with 2600 students, is the largest international school in China and it has students representing 40 different countries. Their 8th grade class spent a month working in groups to study certain global issues and to "speak out" about those issues. Their teacher built a wiki on Wikispaces (just like we have), and the results of the teacher and student's work is here: http://challenge-global.wikispaces.com/

On Thursday, April 17th from 8-10 a.m. we will be in live Skype videocast with two of the student groups. They will present their projects to us, and we will have time to ask questions about their work and their life in China after their presentations.

NGO 20/20 Projects from SAS


(1) Changing Lives for Migrant Workers: Kiva Partnership (Wiki)

(2) Peacekeeping, Conflict Prevention and Preventing Terrorism:
http://global-challenge.wikispaces.com/Categories+Hum3+Group+2 (Wiki)


Please go to these projects and REVIEW THEM before they present to us on Thursday. Be prepared to ask some questions of the students, and inquire about what effect they are having with the organizations (called NGOs--non governmental organizations) that they have established.

Our Questions and SAS Answers (A special thanks to Natasha E at SAS!)

GROUP 1 (KIVA)


1. Maggie S—How did you find out about KIVA? Has your school donated anything yet?

2. Madison L--How long did it take you to make the wiki?

3. Kelly P—What percent of migrant workers are children?

4. Lauch M—How do you think your wiki has influenced the lives others?

5. Brian D—How did you learn to make such a complex wiki?

6. E. B—Do people ever use the loans for something other than what they were supposed to use them for?

GROUP 2 (School Violence)


7. From Emily V—Your wiki concentrates on violence in developed countries. Did you find any information on school violence in developing countries?
Yes, although our wiki does mostly concentrate on violence in developed countries we originally did learn a lot about violence in undeveloped countries. Our initial topic was terrorism and conflict prevention, so we started of researching about attacks all over the world. We learned about events in the Middle East in schools, and whatnot. However, that was a really broad topic, so we narrowed it down to school violence.

8. Suzannah T—What was the most interesting statistic about school violence that you found in your research on school violence?
I have to say one of the most interesting statistics we found during our research was about the amount of deaths caused purely from bullying. I know we've probably all heard a lot about bullying and why not to do it, but actually learning how many kids (a lot of them very young) die or commit suicide from bullying- even girls just gossiping- was amazing. For example, on our wiki if you look in the Related Links section (I think) there are a few stories about kids committing suicide because of gossiping and name calling even.

9. Forrest B—Is school violence a problem at your school?
I have to say that school violence is not especially a problem at our school. You may think it might be more so, considering the range of cultures throughout our school community, but in fact the problem is not that noticeable in our school. We actually talked to our counselor during our research and asked him this exact question, but he said he had seen 1 case of school violence in his years of teaching, but it was not in our school. However, we do face A LOT of the root of school violence, bullying. Verbal bullying is more frequent and we have had about a million talks about it from teachers and our counselor.

10. Charlotte M—How and why did you decide on school violence as your topic?
Well, our initial topic was Terrorism and Conflict Prevention but at a certain stage in our project our teacher asked every group to come up with a narrow topic. We at first decided on school violence and terrorist attacks on schools in the Middle East, but we soon changed our minds to School Violence in developed countries. We decided to do it because we believe we can relate to school violence and teens, also because two of the largest school massacres have happened in our lifetime.


11. Lizzy W—Was it hard to see and hear about all the deaths caused by school violence?
Of course, naturally you can expect that a person would feel terrible about deaths at schools all around the world. It's very difficult to finally realise that all of these deaths and occurances could have been you, or your sisters/brothers.

12. Cole H—Do you know whether school violence happens a lot in Chinese schools?
For me, I don't really know much about school violence in local Chinese schools. I'm sure that there is bullying, as there is everywhere in the world. Personally, however I haven't ever really learned about that. Sorry :( Oh, and I like your last name.

13. Laura H--What was the best part about making your wiki?
I think the best part overall about making the wiki was knowing that people all around the world were going to see it. Sharing and showing the stories of how much of an impact bullying makes on schools, and about deaths because of bullying was also good (not that it was fun reading about kids dying or anything). It was good knowing that this information was getting out to the world- I mean the internet has almost everything on it- so like you guys did I hope more people around the world see our wiki and take notice of it (:

14. Kelsey F—What fundraisers are you planning to raise money?
Right now we're not really planning fund raisers. Our organization is raising awareness and having free hug days, stuff like that. We're not raising money simply because the organization we focuser on, the NSSSS, doesn't really need money for their program, unlike the Labour Migrant group's did. Maybe we will in the future, but right now we're focusing more on letting people know, and help out in their own school.


GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR LIVES


1. Sarah S--What is your typical school day like in China?
Here in China my day is probably a bit different from yours. For me, I live on the other side of Shanghai than the school. The school is in the area called Pu Dong- which means the East side of the Huang Pu river, I live in Pu Xi which is the West side of the Huang Pu river. So in the mornings I have to get the school bus at 6:45 and I get to school at about 7:55 every day. Our classes start at 8:07 (I know thats weird) after we have 7 minutes of homeroom from 8:00. We have 3 special classes in the morning which are on a rotating schedule. These "specials" are each 50 minutes and are are: P.E, some type of Music (band, strings, general music), a language (Chinese, Spanish, French), and Health/Art (health is half the year, and art is the other half.) At 11:05 after we have had specials we have 1 core before lunch at 12:20, which is Math, Science, or Humanities (English combined with History). After a 45 minute lunch we have another core class for 1 hr and 20 minutes and then either elective (our chosen class) or advisory. My elective is Extra Art, you get to pick a different one each quarter of the year. Advisory was actually new this year, and it is basically a class where you prepare for stuff, or have reading time, or do homework, or go to assemblies & whatnot. At 2:55 we go home (: However, for me on Tuesdays I have Basketball Practice until 4:30 at school, and on Thursdays I have Pre-Season Volleyball (to get ready for high school v-ball which is really competitive) until 4:30 and then Basketball games until 5:00. Recently I have also started Pre-Season Tackle Rugby, but thats just for fun (: So, as you can see at our school we are offered a lot of sports and after-school activities.

2. Corey E—What do you do for fun with your friends?
Honestly, Shanghai gets boring, especially after 9 years. Theres not exactly much to do. When I'm with my friends we usually go to this area called Jin Qiao which is just a whole bunch of restaurants and houses/apartments. Mostly we stick to the Starbucks there and chill upstairs while the guys skate outside. Otherwise we go to Superbrand Mall, which is a mall with H&M, Esprit, Starbucks, McDonald's, Sephora, Burger King, and a whole load of clothes stores (: Its not exactly luxury shopping, the only store we have thats remotely like Western Shopping, and that we can afford is H&M. But theres also a load of cool little downtownish sort of stores near where I live, and a place called People's Square where you can get Manicures and Pedicures for 20 yuan- which I guess in America is about 2 dollars...? I think.

3. Peter S—What do you do on weekends?
On the weekends I usually hang out with my friends at their houses or at one of the places I talked about before. I usually have A LOT of homework which I do all on Sunday.

4. Arthur W—Do you play sports at your school? Do you compete against teams from Chinese schools?
Yes, I do play sports at my school. I play soccer, volleyball, touch rugby, basketball, and in 6th grade I did badminton and ping pong- although I wasn't exactly amazing (: In soccer we do play against local Chinese schools- well, school- Ping He. They're actually amazing at soccer and we tend to lose when we play them. In high school they do tournaments called ACAMIS, SISAC, and China Cup for soccer, volleyball, and basketball. In all of them they play most of the International Schools in Shanghai, but in China Cup they play more local schools as well.

5. Will E—What do you like best about living in China?
Thats a really really hard question. Shanghai is an amazing city- and I love it so much. Mostly though I love living in Puxi. Most all of my friends live in Pu Dong, so when we want to hang out I have to go all the way over there. But Pu Xi is amazing, its downtown, and it's where you can actually see Shanghai for real. Pu Dong is mostly big buildings and a place which was made on the basis of letting Foreigners feel at home. There are a lot of villa developements which are made to look like the houses in America so that people can live as if they were still there. In Pu Xi however, I live on a street- okay, I get that that sounds stupid because everyone where you guys are just lives on a street too. Here in Shanghai most Westerners live in compounds with gates, and guards, and streets contained in a "compound". I live out in the open, where you can easily walk around all over the place, no gate, no guard- and you can walk to the subway thats just down the street (: I love how in Shanghai everything is just a subway or taxi ride away. Sure, its not always safe- but it gets you where you want to go- fats and cheap.

6. Emma S—If you don’t speak Chinese, is it hard for you to communicate when you go out?
I guess you could say that, however it doesn't take much Chinese to get around. Most of the time if you're with a friend who can speak a bit of Chinese you're good to go. Whenever my relatives come from England and Australia they manage to go to the markets and shop without and Chinese skills (:


7. Brant W—Those of you who are not Chinese—have you learned to speak Chinese or are you learning to speak Chinese?
Well yes, I'm one of the ones who isn't Chinese. Since I've been here a while I've learned to speak Chinese for a while and am now the only white person in my level/ all the above levels in eighth grade (: Chinese is a pretty hard language to learn, I'm still learning- and have a lot left to learn before I can be fluent, but it's probably the language class most kids take at our school. Some of them do Spanish or French, but I think it's better to take Chinese considering you're in China.

8. Amelia C—How do you get around Shanghai?
In Shanghai I take a school bus to school, and on weekends I take taxis most of the time to where I want to go. However, most foreign families in Shanghai have drivers. Which are often men who work with your mum/dads company and you can employ them to work for you. Sometimes they work for more than 1 family. Basically you tell them where you want to go and they take you (: I know, it probably sounds like we're really stuck up and spoiled over here.

9. Cody H—Is Shanghai very crowded?
Most of the time, yes, its super busy- but it also depends on where you go. At this place called Jin Qiao that my friends and I hang out at its not really that busy. However, if you get into this supermarket called carrefour it's crowded as heck ! Mostly its crowded where the local Shanghainese shop or hang out (like in subway stations- and in subway cars !)


10. Julie Ann H—What is Chinese TV like?
To tell you the truth I haven't ever really watched Chinese T.V. Around here you can get illegal Singaporean cable- you don't get ALL the channels you have over there but you can get Star World, HBO, Cinemax, ETC, Nickelodeon, Disney, BBC, CNN, Star Sports, ESPN. Most of the time I just watch seasons like the O.C, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, C.S.I, Without a Trace, Bones, Weeds and a whole load of other stuff on DVD. Otherwise I watch Scrubs, Seinfeld, Zoey 101, HBO movies and we all just love American Idol.

11. Craig R—Do you get a lot of homework at your school?
YES ! This year our grade has complained SO MUCH about homework to the teachers its unbelievable. I'm not sure if we do get THAT much, and sometimes (rarely) we barely have any actually- but at least 3/5 school days a week I stay up until 10:00 doing homework, and let me tell you- I am not exactly an over-achiever !

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR OBSERVATIONS OF CHINA


12. Samantha D—We’ve heard a lot about air pollution in China. Are there times when you can’t go outside because of the quality of the air?
For me, that has never happened ever since I've been here. There have been typhoons that have stopped me going to school and flooded my house a bit- but I've never not gone out because of the pollution. It's true though, it is extremely bad air over here are there are some days every year that when you go outside to school you can't see 20 ft. ahead of you out of the bus windscreen.

13. James W—What do you think the average Chinese person thinks about the US?
This is a really hard question to answer. Well, right now, because of what's happening with the Tibetans wanting religious freedom and their own government and how that's affecting the Olympics for Beijing I can say I don't think the Chinese are extremely fond of American's right now. However, even though the U.S are boycotting the Olympic Opening the Chinese government doesn't want to cause trouble, because they don't want to make the U.S see them badly.

14. William H—What is the Chinese media saying about recent events in Tibet?
Right now all over China the media are taking tremendous action to not let any information about what's happening in Tibet out to anyone, not even Chinese citizens. Of course, they are now extremely scared because they have lost face- and they look bad to England, France, and the U.S. Every time anything about the events come up on the news the T.V goes black. You could just be sitting there watching the soccer news and suddenly your screen goes black- even for hours at a time. They recently even switched off HBO- I have no idea why but.. ?

15. Chris M—What are people in China saying about the upcoming Olympics?
Bei Jing is extremely excited about the olympics and they still are, but because of whats happening with the U.S and France and England boycotting the Olympics Opening Ceremony China is scared. Due to what France is doing China is boycotting CarreFour (a French Supermarket chain in China) on May 1st to show they are not going to let this go. I have to see later whether all of the Chinese citizens are on Chinas side; it would be an AMAZING sight to see carrefour empty.

16. Ella S—What kind of music do people in China listen to?
We, the foreigners, listen to a lot of the same stuff you guys do, I think ?. Like Baby Bash, Chris Brown, T-Pain, Leona Lewis, and I myself have always been an EXTREME backstreet boys fan (: However, we are about a year behind on the charts- we end up listening to whatever we listened to the past summer until the next summer comes around. Also, its depends what you want to listen to. There is an AMAZING population of people here that are into techno like Daft Punk, Basshunter, Cascada- and a lot of people like country like Carrie Underwood, The Wreckers, The Dixie Chicks, etc. I like it all- and most people here do love a mix of the music (: