AYC is succeeding in its goal to provide a forum for meaningful exchange between Chinese and Western youth. It is exactly this understanding from one-on-one interaction and education that will improve relations between countries and nations in our increasingly globalized world.
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Before 2008, International Labor Day was one of three long holidays during the year, along with Spring Festival and National Day. Like every other so-called “Golden Week” this inspired enormous crowds, jacked up prices, and severe shortage of resources in tourist areas. Around 2008 the government realized that if the holidays were a bit more spread out workers would be happier and fewer old ladies would get punched in the face for the last train ticket. And so, Labor Day was reformed from a week long holiday into a three day one, and three other holidays were given official recognition.
These holidays, Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Festival), Duanwu (Dragon Boat Festival) and Middle Autumn Day, were not new creations, but rather traditional holidays that were reinstated in 2008. These holidays all enjoyed official status during the Republican period (1912-1949), but saw it revoked with the rise of a new government determined to wipe out old superstition. However, recent years have seen interest in preserving traditional culture rekindled in China, and these holidays have accordingly been transformed from something to be ideologically reviled to a way to preserve and continue aspects of China’s unique cultural heritage like respect for ancestors, love of nature, and punching old ladies in the face.
Congratulations to the AYC Photo-Essay and Video competition winners! We will be showcasing all of the submissions for the contest over the next few weeks, so be sure to check-in here to see what it’s like living in China with AYC! You can view all entries here: on.fb.me/1kesX7P
The Winners of the 2013-2014 AYC Photo-Essay Contest:
First Place Winner: Andrew Ebanks (picture on left)
Second Place Winners: Isaak Tarek, Lindsey Pointer, and Arielle Strafford
Third Place Winner: Brecken Byron, Jessica Gourdet, Jaline King, William O'Brian and Linda Wang
Video Contest Winners
The winners of the 2013-2014 AYC Video Contest:
First Place Winner: Michael Peterson (picture on right)
Second Place Winners: Mackey Landy, Richelle Gamlam, and Kirsten Ourada
Third Place Winners: Victoria Evans, Evan Deal McDaniels, Ilyse Liffreing, Daniel Ward, and Rachel Smith
Jaline and Jen both studied Chinese in college, and both women had spent a few months in China before joining AYC. Jaline is particularly attracted to Chinese as part of her heritage: her mother is Chinese, although as a fourth-generation American, she can no longer speak the language. Both women knew before they arrived that they would remain in the country another year or two.
When they were placed in Hefei Number One High School, the school did not quite take them seriously. Rather than giving Jaline and Jen classes to teach, the school gave them small groups of students to practice conversational English with in the hallway. But the two quickly proved themselves, bringing quiet students out of their shells and pushing confident students further. “We made it clear they couldn’t just give one-word answers, they had to expand their thoughts in English,” Jaline says. “If they didn’t want to talk, we’d ask them, What do you think?” Noticing that the students’ written English skills lagged far behind their spoken ability, the women set up a writing lab for the kids, both to go over basic English writing skills and to edit college essays. “We’re so happy our school supports our ideas, since we know that’s not always the case in China,” Jen says.
Next year, the women think they may stay on at Hefei Number One, where they have made so many connections and so much progress. Although life hasn't always been easy – the women mentioned flushing their toilet with chopsticks – they have carved out a niche for themselves at their school.
There’s a lot you can tell about a car by its license plate. In general, the character represents the province where the car is registered, while the first letter represents the city of registration. Many abbreviations are straightforward, others represent historical toponyms (湘 for Hunan, 粤 for Guangdong, etc.). The provincial capital is always A, with the second largest city as B, and so on. A high proportion of cars with A 00 after their province character are black Audi A6s with tinted windows, the car of choice for high up officials. License plates with red characters at the beginning denote cars belonging to the armed forces: WJ is for the military police, 空 is for the airforce, 海 is for the navy, and other characters represent specific army bases. Police cars have a red 警 after them.
The Chinese and the Americans aren’t so different: just like in the US, you can get vanity plates. Lucky numbers 8, 6, and 9 are popular, especially in strings. Some people also go the dirtbag route and get the number 250 on their plates, a Chinese insult implying lesser mental capabilities.
Welcome to the first ever AYC program Video and Photo-Essay competition, open exclusively to AYC 2013-2014 participants. We are looking for videos and photo-essays that demonstrate what it feels like to uproot from a western life, and completely be emerged in a new culture and lifestyle. The video or photo-essay should demonstrate the story of coming to China as a foreigner or a teacher, and/ or something meaningful you have learned in your time in China. The video should be between 3-5 minutes, while the photo-essay should be between 500-1000 words with at least 5 photos. Prizes: The first place prize for both competitions is a free trip to Hong Kong, including free roundtrip airfare, 5 day hotel stay and a free ticket to Hong Kong Disney! There will be 3 second place winners for both competitions, and the prize is a free trip to Yunnan including free round trip airfare, and a free 5 day hotel stay in Yunnan. There will be 5 third place winners for both competitions, and the prize is a free 500 kuai high speed railway ticket. Prize packages include 3 star hotels, 2nd class train tickets, and economy class plane tickets. Please read the Terms and Conditions area to find out contest details and guidelines. Feel free to submit any questions that you may have about the contest to the official teachers AYC page, or email them to email@example.com. Submissions are open until March 1st at midnight, and voting will open on March 3rd. Any entries submitted after that will not be entered into the competition. We can’t wait to start receiving your content! Good luck to everyone! Best, AYC 2013-2014 team
About a month ago, I wrote a photo essay comparing living in China to popping out of the womb (and it even rhymes!) for a competition through Ameson. If I get enough votes, I could win a trip to Yunnan, which would soothe my aching mountain girl heart. If you have a minute, please check it out and vote. Thank you!
Check out Lindsay’s post for the AYC photo-essay contest!
Let me tell you something about bus crowding in China…. it’s absolutely ridiculous. Now, I’ll start off by saying that Haishu, Ningbo is a lot smaller than larger metropolitan areas like Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou. And we do not have a subway station. So the bus is the way to go. Usually, I…
Tip #2 for living in China: forget everything that you know about personal space on the bus. This current AYC'er thoroughly explains the crowded bus epidemic during rush hour time. Ladies and Gentleman, this is an example of what the bus is like everyday during Rush Hour. Heed her words, and know sometimes you may have to nudge an old lady to get out.