One year on…

Hello, dear readers!

Truth be told, I haven’t even thought about this blog since the last post I wrote back in January, except when I’ve had messages from prospective students and applicants seeking advice with regards to life at LPC or one of the other UWCs. As before, just a super-quick reminder here to say that yes, I do receive messages sent via this blog and that yes, I do respond (I do aim to respond within 2 or 3 days, which I think is pretty decent).

OK, so update time – what have I been doing since Christmas? And what am I doing now? Since I’m sure everyone’s dying to know what a UWC graduate does with their post-IB days…

Law
So as most will probably know, I moved to the UK to study Law at Durham University. I enjoy Law more that I thought I would (how’s that for the logic of picking a degree, eh?) and I think I’ve done reasonably well… I placed in the top third of first-year Law students this year, and am reasonably confident in my module choices for next year (Criminal Law, Land Law, Trusts & Equity, Media Law, Employment Law and… *drumroll*… CHINESE!).

Law has been pretty decent – I have some lovely friends there (also big shoutout to my Fresher Mum – buddy equivalent – and her housemate! THEY WENT TO UWCSEA AND WE HAVE MUTUALS), and have been able to get involved in lots of company open days (like LOTS, OK. I almost feel like I spent more time on the train to London and back than actually in Durham) and careers events on campus.

Important sidenote: Law has taught me that there is never a bad time to use sub-headings. Even in a blog post. THAT’S A TIP FOR THE FUTURE THERE, GUYS. NEVER. A. BAD. TIME. #EUlaw101.

 

Hobbies
Life at Durham is pretty great. There’s about 14,500 students in total, so there’s lots of things to do. All the time. This year I did Badminton (more on this later), Rugby (new to me, LOVED IT), A-Team (Durham’s slavery awareness group – which I’m co-leading next year!), joined the Tech Crew (again, more on this later) and joined some business societies (Durham University Women In Business – which I am Web Manager for next year – and Durham University Finance Society). And did some ad hoc stuff for other groups and societies, but those are the main ones!

 

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So for Badminton I played for Collingwood College (SPORTS CHAMPIONS 6 YEARS RUNNING) – Mixed A, Mixed B, Women’s A, and, for about a month, Women’s B. So all the teams I could play for, basically. Had a really great time – the badminton team is so chill, it’s great! Next year I’m captaining Women’s A, and co-captaining Mixed A with Holly (who is also one of two of our club presidents).

Tech Crew is literally the best thing ever – I get into all of our college events for free as long as I do some work on the night, and get paid (!!) to do really awesome stuff like control all the lights during silent disco, pyrotechnics (!!!!!!) during Collingwood Day and sound/lights for musicals. See pictures below for (sadly) non-action shots. Next year, Mel (Tech partner in crime, Law buddy, housemate and the general focus of my attention) and I are going to be Tech Managers together – which means we get to boss everyone around. It’s going to be amazing. We are a teensy bit apprehensive – it’s (apparently) a ritual for the new Tech Managers to do the summer plays together (and alone). Mel was in charge of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard), while I was in charge of Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen). By the end of the rehearsals and three days of performances, we were more than ready to ignore each other for a solid week. But oh well, ups and downs!

 

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I guess my final updates for hobbies is that I’ll be taking on quite a lot next year – in addition to what’s been mentioned, I’m also going to be Treasurer for a new society and volunteering for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. And trying to have a social life and scrape a 2.1! Hey ho!

Careers
Oh wow, careers, wow. Hmmmmmm… At the beginning of the academic year, I was quiiiite sure that my career plans involved law in some way or other – either academia or commercial law. By a bizarre but happy accident, I ended up doing a spring internship with a very respectable investment bank, and absolutely loved it. So my plans, at least for the moment, have changed to include investment banking as a possibility. I know – I’m a sellout. For all those despairing at my lack of UWC values, do not despair! If my extracurriculars can’t persuade you that I’m staying true to my roots… do read on.

Summer plans & the future…
SO. What am I up to this summer? Well, I’ve already moved out of College accommodation and into the house that me and some friends are renting for Year 2. Earlier this year, I was accepted into the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research & Leadership Scholarship program, which is a program that provides funding for undergraduate students to conduct their own research for twelve weeks divided over two summers. See below: some images of Durham’s finest undergraduate researchers (aka all 23 members of the first class of the program).

 

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This summer, my research is looking at modern slavery legislation from around the world – specifically as it related to businesses and supply chain due diligence, comparing the various types of legislation, examining their efficiency and using the effect to-date of California’s legislation to predict the effect of the UK’s legislation.

It sounds a lot more complicated that it actually is. I promise. (I think, at least? Maybe just to someone with a significant amount of background knowledge…)

But yeah. Next summer I want to focus on the balance of anti-terrorism/anti-immigration laws and human rights. Fun, Fun, FUN!

This post hit 1000 words… NOW, but I figured I’d leave a nice little rounding off paragraph below, as I don’t know when I’ll next be blogging (well, apart from inserting some nice links to my research when it’s published…)..

Not very eloquently put, but… All I wanted to say is that uni is pretty great – no, you don’t get the community vibes you get at a UWC, and yes, people drink a lot more here, but overall it’s still nice. The worst thing is probably how people just genuinely don’t care about issues you thought EVERYONE cared about (like climate change. Or SLAVERY). But opening people’s eyes is easier than you think, and making friends is still possible, even when you don’t live two doors down from each other.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep in touch with a significant amount of people from UWC (and even get closer to them and go visit, like I did with Aditi in Mumbai in December 2016). Also – even if you don’t get into your top school, it will all still be fine. Uni is uni, people are people and a degree is a degree. Breathe!

//peace.

Happy New Year – a minor update!

Happy New Year, everyone!

One of the perks of going to Durham is that term-time is very short and breaks are very long. I still have a week and a half before I head back. I probably should be using my holiday more productively (read: catching up on all the reading I didn’t do during the previous term) – but oh well, we can’t be perfect.

I figured I would make an update post, just to give any readers an idea of what UWC graduates might be doing with their post-UWC time. I also just wanted to send out a reminder that I can still be contacted through the “Contact Me” section of this blog – I do reply to every message I get, and I’m more than happy to answer questions about applications, LPC or UWC in general!

Over the summer holiday, I worked as a fundraiser in Bergen for Amnesty International. It was tough! People don’t generally want to talk to people that are going to ask them for money, even if the money is going to a very good cause. Most people are very good about saying no, but there are the occasional rude individuals who are less than pleasant. Couple that with the fact that Bergen is one of the rainiest cities in Europe, and you get a picture of my average working day. Overall I’m very glad to have had the experience, though!

I also spent quite a bit of time relaxing with family and friends – I visited Elise (UK LPC ’16) in Birmingham and also helped out again with the RCN Bergen Day, where I met some more lovely students.

I also got involved with a refugee integration project started by the youth council I used to be involved with, which was nice.

Then, of course, October eventually rolled around and it was time to go to Durham. I have quite the good friendship group, if I do say so myself. Some live on my floor and some don’t, but we get together most days to play Cards Against Humanity/Spyfall/Mafia/Articulate or watch a movie. I’m really enjoying Law – it’s more interesting than I thought it would be (sidenote and very important piece of advice: generally, you should not apply for a course that you think might be a bit boring – even if you think it’s going to earn you money later), and there are plenty of fun cases out there!

In terms of hobbies and UWC values – I’m taking evening Chinese classes, playing badminton for my college (Collingwood, if anyone was wondering – interestingly enough, one of my college mothers (a “buddy”, if you will) came from UWCSEA!) and rigging lights and sound for formal dinners, plays and other special events within Collingwood College. Perks of rigging: you get paid. I’m not complaining!

I’ve been to two concerts in Newcastle while I’ve been studying in Durham (for potential Durham applicants – Newcastle is closer and cheaper to get to than you would think!) – Bastille and The 1975. Both amazing.

Also definitely worth mentioning is that I went to visit one of my firsties, Aditi, in Mumbai for her brother’s wedding. It was such a great experience, and so nice to see my firstie again. Pictures below.

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PS: Today saw me adding a category to this blog that I never thought I’d add; Post-UWC. Wow.

Project Week Take 2

Dear anyone who may be reading this blog post,

Depending on how long you have been following this blog, you may or may not have read my post about last year’s Project Week. I would recommend reading that post before this one, as many of my reflections are based on comparisons with the Project Week last year.

As with last year’s post, there are many sensitive details about the girls and the centre that cannot be revealed or shown online (this includes names, stories, pictures etc.), so you will have to just bear with me and my vagueness.

Our trip to the AFESIP centre this year was very different from our trip last year. Last year we went to Siem Reap centre for a whole week, where the girls were all between 14 and 34 years old. This year, my group went to Tom Dy centre for four days, where the girls were between 4 and 20 years old. The rest of the week was spent visiting NGOs and cultural heritage sites in Phnom Penh.

One of the major differences that I think affected the quality of the trip, for me, was the composition of students that went on the trip. Last year, the group that went together on Project Week to Siem Reap was very close-knit, and we had no communication or cooperation troubles. This year I felt as though there were three or four very distinct groupings of students that had just been thrown together for Project Week, which led to us not being able to work as well together as I had been expecting.

While preparing for Project Week this year, I had been anticipating that the girls and women in the centre would be of all ages, so from children all the way up to mid-30s. When we arrived at the centre, we quickly realized that there were only younger girls left in the centre, and none of the girls that Josef, Fleur or I knew from last year remained in the centre. That was tough to think about for the first couple of days.

For the duration of the four days my group spent at the centre, we danced and sang a lot, as well as carrying out art activities and various games. We walked (read: carried) the younger girls to and from school every day, and I also spent a lot of my time with one of the very youngest girls after school. She was very entertaining; she would have me carry her around the centre as she reached out to test all of the light switches, after which she would point in the direction of the stairs and have me walk up and down the stairs for ages and ages while carrying her. On the way up the stairs, she would count in Khmer. On the way down, she counted in English.

Our group didn’t get to do any drama or art therapies in the group, due to a lack of time. I found this very disappointing on a couple of different levels; lots of us had prepared to run drama and art therapies (which led to a lot of our preparation being wasted), and there were several students in my group that I thought would have benefited from seeing the therapies and how different the girls become during the therapies, going in an instant from blissfully happy to hysterical crying. Perhaps it would have helped the message we try to convey in SAS sink in a little further.

Halfway through the week, we swapped over with the second group of students, who had spent the first half of the week visiting NGOs and cultural heritage sites, and were headed to the centre to spend the second half of the week there.

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Emma (Y1, Norway) and Emma (Y2, Norway/UK). What a cute pair!

During our time in Phnom Penh, we visited two cultural heritage sites (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields) and a few NGOs/social enterprises (Liberty Asia, Chab Dai Coalition, Daughters of Cambodia). We also watched the movie The Killing Fields. I found it very interesting to learn more about Cambodia’s past and violent history.

The highlight of our time in Phnom Penh must have been when some of the members of our group walked past a café that we knew employed former victims of sex trafficking. We stopped by, originally thinking that we would ask them a couple of questions about which NGOs their employees were referred to them from. When we went in, we quickly realized that one of the baristas was a girl that Josef and I knew from Siem Reap from the year before. It was really nice to catch up with her both there and at a dinner later the same evening and to find out what the girls from the Siem Reap centre were up. It was really good to not wonder anymore about whether they were still under AFESIP’s protection.

In summary – I’d say this trip was very different to the trip last year, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that last year I was much more shocked by everything that happened at the centres, especially due to the therapies. This year I was not so shocked, and so I don’t feel that my time at the centre this year will have left as much of an impact as last year’s trip did. Nevertheless, I thought it was a very good use of our time in Phnom Penh to visit other NGOs and cultural heritage sites, to know more of Cambodia’s “background”.

Sorry about there not being many pictures! I am unable to post any from the centre or of the girls.

Radio Silence (aka what I’ve been doing for the last month and a half)

This blog post comes after quite a while of radio silence on my end. No apologies here; it’s been crazy busy and it’s only just calming down now. As of right now, there are very few things on my academic to-do list, but I am starting to make a list of all the things I have yet to do/accomplish in my time in Hong Kong, and frantically trying to cross some of them off before our final exams begin in less than two months.

The last update was the Hackathon, which, believe it or not, was a whole month and a half ago. February has rushed past for me and most of my co-years, so it really feels as though the Hackathon must have been last weekend or the weekend before.

What happened since the Hackathon, you might ask? WELL!

The Wednesday after the Hackathon was the UN Holocaust Memorial Day. Like last year, I went to the memorial, which in both years has featured some very memorable speeches by Holocaust survivors. This year’s speaker in Hong Kong was Dov Landau (the movie Exodus was based on his story) – a very interesting character.

Later that weekend was Chinese Cultural Evening – while it was a great show, I think nothing will ever be able to live up to last year’s storytelling and show. The dragon and lion dances improve year by year, and the second-year scene this year had me rolling all over the floor of the sports hall.

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Just a couple of days after Chinese Cultural Evening, we had the penultimate Music Night of the year. Ferna and I announced that we are on the look-out for first-years to take over leadership over Music Night, which was a little sad. We only have one more Music Night together as hosts, which will be in around a month from now. While Music Night sometimes feels like more hassle than it’s worth, I will miss the atmosphere at Music Nights, auditioning people and working with Ferna and the AV team to make sure everything flows smoothly.

The next weekend, Chinese New Year started. Besides going to Jordan’s 18th birthday party and being ill, I didn’t do much except study for mock exams. Now that we’re getting the mock exams back, I’m seeing that the studying paid off (although I think I could probably have gotten away with spending less of my holiday studying and more of it actually having fun).

The two weeks after Chinese New Year passed in a blur – I got well(ish), had my second and final Principal’s Dinner, dyed my hair pink (without bleaching my hair first, so it lasted for just about two days), took all my mock exams and tried frantically to organize all the SAS students in preparation for Project Week (on which reflections will come on the next post).

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My hair when it was pink (thanks Max <3)

Skipping to events of after Project Week, not much has happened. We got back to school on Saturday night, at which point Karen and myself stayed up until long past 3am de-licing ourselves so that we wouldn’t infect our pillows and bedsheets.

Sunday was spent attending Asia Society Hong Kong’s screening of “He Named Me Malala” and relaxing with friends, while the time back at school yesterday and today has been hectic and relatively mind-numbing. I also got sick (again) on Project Week, and am recovering. This is the fourth time this school year that I have been ill (compared to not getting ill AT ALL last year or the year before), so I am beginning to wonder if my immune system is having some trouble.

More on Project Week coming up!

Oops… I forgot about this blog for two months

Just kidding, I didn’t forget about it. I thought about it regularly but didn’t write anything anyway.

As always, plenty of things have happened since I last wrote, so I’m going to write another Simran-style post where I list the things I have done and expand only briefly. Enjoy.

October:

  • My university applications and all my predicted grades were due at the start of the month. Since my university applications were handed in, I haven’t been too stressed about predicted grades. I took my LNAT and IELTS as well (don’t you just LOVE standardized testing? I sure do), so I’ve been finished with all of my university applications for a good while now. It feels nice.
  • My grandparents and uncle came to visit for a week, which was really nice (at least for me). I got off campus with them for a few days, and also went to see some sights with them.
  • CHINA WEEK aka no firstyear roomies for a week. I’d be lying if I said Tiffany and I didn’t enjoy the peace and quiet (sorry Trisha and Yvonna – we still love you ❤ ). It reminded me a lot of fortnight, with all the second-years running around to finish pieces of work.
  • Margaux and I attended FREEDOM INSPIRES Hong Kong, a Liberty Asia event. It was really nice to be there – we met some people working for Liberty Asia that we’re working with now, and we also very much enjoyed talking to the other guests and representing LASAS.

November:

  • No November is complete without the 24 Hour Race! Before the 24 Hour Race, some students acted as Light For Freedom ambassadors, trying to fundraise for the two beneficiaries of the 24 Hour Race, Chab Dai and Justice Centre Hong Kong, before the Race took place. Then, of course, there was the actual race, which was as great as ever. LPC (of course) took home the school spirit award, while the LPC boys team took home the prize for 3rd fastest boys team. We’re all very proud!
  • Sex CoP Day. Not highly enjoyable last year – basically all the sex education one ever receives at LPC all packed into one day. Usually a day off for all the second-years, a bunch of us were asked to help out with various sessions throughout the day. Significantly more fun when the pressure to put a condom on a banana correctly wasn’t on me!
  • Went to a really cool talk held by the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (or something like that) about the urbanization of China and the development of cities and rural areas in China (Beijing and Manchuria). Super-interesting!
  • Went to an awesome art gallery tour around Hong Kong with Wendy (art teacher) and a bunch of other students. So many opportunities for the students!
  • Skipped a European Cultural Evening meeting to join the Theatre classes at a Chinese play. Because why not?
  • Dad came to visit and brought way too much sweets and food!! While he was here, we had European Cultural Evening – a great success, in my book! We had a nice mix of serious and playful scenes (and I do make a pretty good queen, if I do say so myself).
  • While Dad was here, we also went to see the Hong Kong Ballet perform Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. My first ballet! I love the student discounts on tickets that they do here!!
  • Then, yesterday was the last Music Night of 2015. Ferna wasn’t here to help organize this one, and her presence was definitely missed – not only by me. I think Music Nights of this year have also been a success, mainly due to the diversity of talent the school possesses and the fact that Arnett, our principal, is so supportive of the students and lets us use his house (and really awesome piano).

So, yeah. Two months in a nutshell. I might expand on some of these points later – but probably not. Pictures below, on Facebook, and other places. Only 10 days until I get on the plane and get to go home for almost a month! So ready!!!

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Me and my favourite tutee, Simmy P ❤ Excellent block activity.

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Magan’s tutor group ’16, aka the best tutor group ever.

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Karen (Colombia) and Maisha (Bangladesh) trying to kill me before I attended FREEDOM INSPIRES Hong Kong.

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Me as an ambassador for the 24 Hour Race.

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Believe it or not, an everyday scene at LPC. Just kidding, this is the British scene from ECE. Willem (Netherlands) playing Prince Harry, me playing the Queen, and Maymay (HK/Wales) playing Wallace (my butler).

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War Poem.

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My promotional profile picture for ECE.

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Me looking dreadfully thoughtful at the last Music Night of 2015.

xoxo

Orientation Week – 2nd year

Orientation Week is very different in 2nd year than 1st year. While the second-years are not required to participate in all activities, they are very much expected to help out and take responsibility for various aspects of some of them. While this year it meant more responsibility than last year, I’m glad I don’t have to go through first-year Orientation Week again.

For me, Orientation Week mainly consisted of helping out with the Magical Mystery Tour and organizing Music Night with Ferna. I also had to continue my Extended Essay experiment and do (some) other schoolwork. And, of course, help the firstyears settle in.

It’s a very new and different experience to have new faces everywhere. On the one hand, it’s so much easier for the second-years, since we have to learn fewer names than the first-years. On the other hand, we remember all the students that have just graduated and are very busy staying in touch with them (so far I’ve skyped 3 of my second-years and I have no doubt I’ll skype more of them soon).

Orientation Week is seen as a very welcome break by lots of second-years – no more Math IA, TOK presentation or classes. It was a welcome break from classes, but really it was almost as tiring as a normal school week. I signed up to help out with welcoming the Hong Kong first-years, the Magical Mystery tour and, of course, Ferna and I were very busy organizing the first Music Night/International Cultural Evening of the school year.

The Magical Mystery tour was great – this year we changed up the stops a little bit to give the first-years a chance to see some different aspects of Hong Kong. Tegz and I greeted eight or nine groups at the Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong. As is tradition, the groups have to do us a favour before we do them the favour of giving them their next clue. Naturally, Tegz and I made the first-years hold a Taylor Swift sing-off, where they split into two teams and had to sing Taylor Swift songs at eachother. It was highly successful – I was sure several musical prodigies had joined LPC this year.

Music Night/ICE took a lot more planning, and it got quite hectic towards the end, when we realized we’d sent out two invitations via email – with both of them showing the wrong starting time. In the end we managed to sort it out, and it was quite the success. A couple of cultural groups performed, while we also had one teacher performance and a few first-year performances. In the end we had a second-year dance to “We’re All In This Together” from High School Musical – just to end it on a cheesy note. It felt a little weird to be hosting Music Night, though – taking over the responsibilities of friends who have recently graduated and left LPC is a very odd feeling. It’s also very odd to be gathered as a year group with some of us having chosen not to come back.

Ference freestyling to "We're All In This Together" at Music Night/ICE.

Ference freestyling to “We’re All In This Together” at Music Night/ICE. Lots of second-years dancing awkwardly in the background.

Badminton competition this weekend (we’re hoping to beat last year’s all-time record of 2nd place), so I shall be off now. See ya.

Summer 2015. Bring it on!

I have now been back home for almost two weeks, and I have finally gotten over my not-so-shocking bout of hypothermia (just kidding – it’s cold, though). I am well underway studying and preparing for the harsh realities of third term. While I’ve mainly been relaxing, watching movies and ruining my sleeping patterns (going to bed at 3am and waking up at noon – no internet ban!, I think that sounds like a certain roommate of mine…), I’ve also been able to meet up with a few of my friends, go to the library, attend a meeting and do plenty of schoolwork. So, naturally, I’m more than ready to take a holiday from my holiday.

Seeing pictures of second-years with their families or on grad trips makes me very happy for them, seeing as they are now finished with the IB (no more paper 1s/2s/3s) and moving on to bigger things. At the same time, I have been chatting with quite a few of the second-years I was am close to, and there is a certain feeling that we could have had more time together. My end-of-year grades weren’t all that fantastic, so given that, I think in retrospect I would have preferred to spend more time eating sorbet with Cynthia, watching AHS with Angelos or laughing with Belce/Miranda/Miren/Kylie/insert name here.

I have plenty of exciting things lined up for this summer; this weekend I’ll be visited by Emma (Norwegian firstie) – we’ll be doing tourist-y things in Bergen and chatting about life at LPC. Then, next weekend I’ll be headed to Oslo to help the Norwegian national committee with the parents’ meeting. Next week is the intro-weekend for the first-years, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to go. Pre-scheduled Skype meetings and family events prevent me from going, while Magnus is still in India backpacking with Anton (Denmark). It reminds me an awful lot of last year, when our second-years also couldn’t make it to the intro-weekend. I’m hoping to make it up to the first-years, though! After I arrive in Oslo on Thursday, I’ll head to lunch on Friday afternoon with the firsties before they go off on the intro-weekend.

At some point me, my Mum and my brother will be headed off to Reykjavik for a while, then my brother and I will be headed to the UK. While there, I will be visiting Tegan for a week (Welsh pride!) and also dropping by Elise’s place for a couple of days (so we can work on Chemistry and our Theory of Knowledge presentation together). Just kidding about the Chemistry. Not kidding about the Theory of Knowledge. Then *horror-filled gasp* I will be turning eighteen – a legal adult!! Whatever shall I do?

In lieu of more to say, I will end this blog post here.

First year is officially over. Bring on third term (actually, wait, please don’t!).

Emma

Model United Nations – Change of Pace

Yesterday was LPCMUN (Li Po Chun Model United Nations) CoP (Change of Pace) day – don’t you just love all of the acronyms we use at LPC?

Model United Nations is an activity that occurs worldwide. Last weekend, the LPCMUN group hosted a bunch of other schools’ MUN teams and competed here on campus. The basic idea is that students act as delegates for various countries and organizations in committees in the United Nations – for example the Security Council. Arguing and politics occur, and at the end the goal is to pass resolutions (as if one was in the United Nations) and determine “policy”. When representing countries and organizations, the delegates must dress formally and speak of themselves in the 3rd person – this turned out to be very entertaining as the day went on.

We also had “chairs” – their job is to control the debate and monitor the delegates. One of our chairs often said things such as: “The chair would smile upon…” (which basically meant do whatever the chair “smiles upon”). The chairs would ask the delegates if there were any “motions on the floor” – at which point one could motion for several different things – like adding oneself to the General Speakers List, setting up a Moderated or Unmoderated Caucus or proposing a resolution.

Initially I was quite skeptical of this CoP day – I don’t really agree with one Quan Cai having its own CoP day – and was unsure how much effort to put into preparing myself for it. While most CoP days require minimal effort and involve only showing up and being mentally present, the MUN CoP day requires that all the delegates prepare themselves to argue for their country’s stance. Personally, I would have appreciated having much more time to prepare myself, as I think the vast majority of students will agree with me on. Many of the issues being debated and committees being modeled were ones I had no clue about – I was representing Canada, debating the representation of China (1971) in the United Nations.

A brief summary of what happened in reality in the UN when they debated the representation of China:

  • Both the Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (What we now call China) claimed that there was only one governing body of China, and that they were the true government.
  • While the ROC was recognized by more states than the PRC, the majority of the General Assembly eventually voted to give the seat in the UN to the PRC, and refused the ROC a seat in the UN.

Without delving too deeply into the arguments of each side, I can say there were many opposing arguments and factors to consider when debating in the General Assembly. Although I don’t take History, I’m reasonably certain I could take an exam on the relations between China and Taiwan right now.

LPCMUN CoP day participants!

LPCMUN CoP day participants!

In the end, Canada (that’s me) ended up proposing a resolution to split the representation of China into two parts (one for the PRC and one for the ROC) along with the USSR and BSSR. Unfortunately, we needed a majority of 2/3 + 1, and we were missing two votes to be able to pass our resolution. While we were fiercely opposed by the ROC and its supporters, I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot about formal procedures and how to formulate an argument under pressure. One of the highlights of the day will definitely be trying to fit all the reasons why China should split into the PRC and ROC into a frantic 30-second speech!

The day ended nicely – I found out that I won “Best Delegate” of the Historical General Assembly, and several of my other friends (including Tegz) either won “Best Delegate” or “Outstanding Delegate” awards!

Proof that I actually can debate - to a certain extent!

Proof that I actually can debate – to a certain extent!

In other news: Magnus and I have our first firstie! From what I have seen of her Facebook profile, she looks superawesome! Magnus and I (and the other Scandies) can’t wait to meet her! We are also desperately searching for our second firstie – if that’s you, please send us a message! We don’t bite, and we can’t wait to meet you!

Also, Zayn Malik has left One Direction. Naturally, I am very saddened by this news – especially as the last concert One Direction played altogether as a band was the concert in Hong Kong last week (that I didn’t go to). The One Direction poster that hung proudly in my corner has been taken down, and I am now officially in mourning. I’m kidding. I’m not in mourning, but I AM sad.

Finally, there was music night tonight, where Cynthia and I performed a song that we also performed during Project Week, but thought we could perform better with instruments. Although the performance wasn’t perfect (compared to our rehearsals), we had plenty of fun singing together. It was really sad that this was the last Music Night of the year – Sophie and Miranda did such a great job hosting the event. I’m honored to say I’ll be hosting Music Night next year along with Ferna (Philippines).

Now the internet will cut off in approximately three minutes, so the delegate of Canada motions to end this blog post.

 

Motion passed!

Project 5 – Cultural Exchange in Dongguan (aka China Week)

Last week, I, along with eleven other teenagers and a teacher (Li laoshi – laoshi means teacher in Mandarin), traveled to Dongguan, China. All the year 1s at LPC took part in some kind of project – some people stayed in Hong Kong, while other people went to the mainland.

The purpose of the trip to Dongguan was a cultural exchange with the locals there. Our trip was split into two main parts; teaching at a primary school in Dongguan, and sightseeing in Dongguan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

As any other successful service project, this one took a lot of planning. Each teaching group had to prepare a lesson plan – we were all going to teach English to 8 different classes from three different year groups. We also had to prepare a performance, as our part of the cultural exchange.

My teaching group consisted of me, Chien (Malaysian who speaks Mandarin) and Day (Thai). We were given the topic ”family”, and were told to keep it simple, because the children have a limited English background. With that in mind, we made a simple Powerpoint presentation, including words and sentences to learn, along with a song and a couple of games.

The other part of our preparation was, of course, the performance. I coordinated the performance, and gave myself the fabulous title of Director of Performance (or DOPE, for short). We came up with many different forms of entertainment; the circus people on our trip prepared a fabulous array of tricks, we sang the cup song, danced to three or four different songs and even learned (most of) a Chinese song!

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((This is what my rehearsals end up looking like))

After many many meetings and hours of preparation, we were finally ready to leave. On the Sunday afternoon, everyone gathered by the roundabout. We took a bus to University Station, and from there we took the MTR to Lok Ma Chau, which is a popular place to cross the border into China.

Crossing the border didn’t take as long as I thought it would. It was very entertaining along the way, because the overseas students had the chance to observe something that had come up in Geography class. In China (and most of Asia), breastfeeding is not a very popular thing. Most people prefer to give their babies powdered formula. There was a scandal in China a few years ago, where the powder being sold wasn’t actually baby formula. Since then, many people have preferred to buy their baby formula across the border in Hong Kong.

Because of this, regulations on how much baby formula one can take across the border have been imposed. Adults over 16 can take two cans of baby formula, with a combined weight of up to 1.8 kg, across the border once every 24 hours. The consequences for breaking these rules are actually up to a HKD 500 000 fine and 2 years in prison!

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After crossing the border, we were met by our friendly tour guide Erica, and we got into a huge bus (designed for at least 40 people, so we all had a row to ourselves) and began the journey to Dongguan. The drive to Dongguan from the immigration centre in Shenzhen took about an hour and a half, and some people decided to sleep (bad decision – here is a photo of Chien sleeping).

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The hotel we stayed at was a four-star hotel (that was part of a mall complex), so it is safe to say we lived comfortably for our time in China. Any food we needed could be easily bought from the supermarket on floor two, and there was even a McDonalds around the side of the mall. The hotel even had detachable showerheads (a luxury people living in Block 1 don’t get, although I know there is one shower with a detachable showerhead in the girls’ showers in Block 2). I was sharing a room with Lina (Ecuador) – even though we were still sharing rooms, it was really nice to have a little more space than in the LPC rooms, where there are four people to one room (although getting used to sharing a room with three other people wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be).

We had one evening to relax, and we got to work the next day. We had breakfast at the hotel every day, and each day it kept getting better – in our group we had several people who could not eat pork, so some mornings we ended up sending food back and asking for different dishes. After a couple of days, the hotel staff figured out what kind of food we liked (noodles, baozi, mantou, etc). Before you ask – yes, my chopstick skills have improved dramatically.

We taught at a local primary school for two-and-a-half days, visiting a total of eight classes from year 3 to year 5. My teaching group was given the task of teaching about family – not the easiest topic, as we had to try to keep the teaching fun. We ended up teaching simple family words with some sentences (like ”sister”, and then ”I have a sister”).

The Chinese way of teaching was very interesting to me – the smallest class we taught in contained about 40 students. They all sat down as soon as the bell rang, and we had hardly any trouble making them pipe down when we wanted to teach – even if there were no actual teachers present. Also, because there were so many students, it was very difficult to interact individually with the kids. There were three of us teaching, compared to only one teacher normally. Therefore, the kids usually learn by the teacher saying or writing something, and then all the kids shouting it back to the teacher in unison.

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As well as teaching family words and sentences, we also taught ”You are my sunshine” and played Chinese Whispers and Hangman with the kids. They really enjoyed the song and the games.

After we had finished teaching, we performed at the primary school and at a local university. We also visited a historical garden, a ”book city”, an art museum and a cake factory. Our performances (the one in front of the primary school and the one in front of some university students) went great. The primary school kids literally loved anything we did, and Li Laoshi performed a song together with the principal of the primary school.

Pictures from our days out can be seen here:

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All of the year 1s on this trip!

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Me, being very Chinese. 我说普通话!

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Theresa and I eating ice cream at the university in Dongguan – the people there were really nice (even though they took pictures of me when they thought I couldn’t see them).

The art museum we went to was great – Li Laoshi taught me a lot about Chinese characters and how the calligraphy from each dynasty has a different style. I also learned a lot about the ”evolution” of Chinese characters – how the characters in old times looked a lot like the thing they were supposed to represent. Over time, of course, the characters have changed, as language does. Now the character for ”water”, for example, looks a lot less like water than it did a few hundred years ago.

We also went to Shenzhen, which is right across the border from Hong Kong. In Shenzhen there is a ”book city”, which is basically a mall containing many bookstores and cafés. I really liked it – I bought many Chinese books (at kindergarten level), and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read them by the time I graduate from LPC.

All in all, I feel that I had a highly successful China Week trip (horyiiii). It makes me a little sad to know that next year I’ll be staying at LPC while my first-years go off to China – Li Laoshi is leaving next year, as she is joining the new UWC in China. Hopefully there will be a teacher willing to carry on the annual trip to Dongguan – it was a great trip, with great people and a great teacher. Li Laoshi, you will be missed!

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The whole teaching group, including Li Laoshi (funfact: laoshi means teacher).

IB 7 laaaaa.

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MESCA

So, MESCA (Middle Eastern, South & Central Asian Cultural Evening) was last week – it was the first cultural evening of the year (excluding International Cultural Evening) and it was SO MUCH FUN. The MESCA people had been working hard for several weeks to make sure our first proper cultural evening was a great one, and they did a great job!

I don’t have any pictures of the MESCA dinner, unfortunately, but it was really nice – we ate typical MESCA food and everyone dressed in MESCA clothes.

The MESCA people then performed for us – it was hilarious, as expected, and played on many many stereotypes about MESCA people.

Minna (sitting on the floor) was promised to my co-year Magnus (on the screen behind the photo) by Minna's mother, as an arranged marriage. Minna decided to travel around to avoid getting married. Suddenly she meets a tall, handsome stranger...

Minna (sitting on the floor) was promised to my co-year Magnus (on the screen behind the photo) by Minna’s mother, as an arranged marriage. Minna decided to travel around to avoid getting married. Suddenly she meets a tall, handsome stranger…

They travelled together, to escape Minna's mother, and visited many places together.

They travelled together, to escape Minna’s mother, and visited many places along the way.

Deema and Kudrat advertising a whitening cream!

Deema and Kudrat advertising a whitening cream!

We have three more cultural evenings lined up for this school year – APEC (Asia-Pacific Evening of Culture), CCE (Chinese Cultural Evening) and NACE (North American Cultural Evening). ECE (guess what ECE stands for?) isn’t until next year 😦

In other news – China Week is next week, and on Sunday I will be traveling with a group of about 12 to a school in Dongguan to teach English. We have, of course, been loaded with tests and presentations just before this. Everything’s cool now though – the only thing I have left to worry about is China Week preparations.

More news after next week, when I get back from China.

xoxo