Two Ends of the Spectrum, by Felix Sanchez ’16

On the second day of our Beijing excursion we awoke from our eternal slumber. Okay maybe not eternal but given the 12+ hour jetlag we were facing, I cannot find the difference. Despite our screwy sleep schedules we found the energy to walk into the blistering heat to tour our sister school, Ren Da Fu Zhong (人大附中). Needless to say it is an impressive school full of amazing resources, it even boasts a magnificent museum dedicated to its own history! After a tour of the campus, we got into an air-conditioned conference room for an introduction to the Beijing team. The adults seemed great and passionate about what they teach as well as the school administrators.

Andover BASK faculty with RDFZ administrators.
Andover BASK faculty with RDFZ administrators.

The Beijing kids were cheerful and easy to talk to. We tried to talk with them in the limited Chinese we have. They appreciated the gesture but laughed when we made silly mistakes. The mood was friendly and relaxed, the opposite one would expect from students of a top Chinese school. After our hellos we had to say goodbye, and we were on our way to lunch. Lunch was standard Chinese excellence, the food was great and so was the conversation. Nothing new there. However, after the lunch we went to a migrant worker children’s school, completely different from the realities we have experienced so far. Unlike RDFZ, this chool boasted few facilities, large classrooms, and few teachers.

A welcome at the migrant worker children's school.
A welcome at the migrant worker children’s school.

We were assigned student partners to talk with so we could understand what their lives were like. Mine were easy to talk to and friendly. They tried their best to understand my broken Chinese. After we knew a little bit about each other we thought it would be fun to play a quick game of basketball. We got out a ball and went at it. Unfortunately for my pride, I was pretty bad at the game. A couple of 7th graders destroyed two 12th graders. Not the best day for our egos. However all-in-all it was a fun game/day, we got to bond with our student partners over the universal game, basketball.

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