First, congrats and welcome to all of the newly admitted students! I can’t wait to see you all next week during Experience Exeter. I can easily remember my revisit day, and know that it was that day, after sitting in on classes and hanging out in a dorm, that I knew Exeter was the right place for me.
For spring break this year, I went on a ten day trip to China with five other students and six teachers, all Exonians. The group consisted of one prep, one lower, three uppers, and one senior, a few Chinese teachers as well as math, English, and history teacher, and the director of the Lamont Gallery. The main objective of the trip was to learn about the migrations of Chinese families and individuals from rural to urban areas. By speaking with experts who have studied this pattern as well as with locals who have migrated to the cities themselves, we learned about the job opportunities migrants find and the challenges they face.Our time in China was split between three large cities, Beijing, Chengdu, and Chongqing. We spent our days exploring the local neighborhoods, visiting famous sites like the Imperial Palace, and trying lots of cool food (Chengdu and Chongqing are both known for food that incorporates the Sichuan peppercorn, a spicy seed that literally numbs your mouth when you bite into it).
Of course, to learn about migration from rural areas, we had to spend some time outside of the city. While in Beijing and Chendgu, we spent one night each in the countryside. During the rural home stay outside of Beijing, we had the opportunity to hike up to a remote section of the Great Wall; reaching the top of the mountain and looking out over the countryside from the Great Wall was probably my favorite moment of the trip, though there are tons to choose from.After studying Chinese for almost three years as my language course at Exeter, it was awesome to visit China for the first time and get to use my speaking, listening, and reading skills outside of the classroom. I’m so thankful to Exeter for providing this “co-learner” trip experience (co-learner, because of the 1:1 student:faculty ratio), and I can’t wait to hear about other Exeter off-campus trips in the future.
Monday marks the start of the first full week back from Spring break. Although the weather doesn’t quite reflect a vision of spring (the forecast is calling for temperatures in the high thirties), the shrinking patches of snow on the quads and the increasing determination of boys to wear shorts are both sure signs that spring term is here. Fingers crossed for lots of sunshine when you visit next week!
See you then,