The most unforgettable memory in my four days experience in the countryside is the students of the XingLong vocational school. They have touched me with their actions and with that they have taught me the value of friendship, love, and the life I have that I have taken for granted. Not only their actions that have touched me but the lifestyle experience that I faced changed my thoughts of life and the value of living a better life. These students have looked upon us as their role model. They one day want to come to America , speak English fluently and travel to different places like we are able to. Some of these students have big dreams they wish to accomplish but know they may not reach the point they may want because of the lack of opportunity that they get. Unlike in America , these students have one chance and one opportunity in their life to become someone successful to support their family. I have learned that the goal of these students from the countryside is to finish school and help support their family because most of these families have only one child and they depend on that child for future support. These students that I have met are the most kindhearted, lovely students that I will never forget. They are an important impact in my life and if I am able to once again return to the school, I would all over again give all my support to them. On this four days experience, I have experienced a normal Chinese citizen's lifestyle selling products on the streets of China that they have produced. By selling these bonsai trees and learning how to plant them, we may not have helped out many students but I know for sure that my fellow classmates and I helped at least one student.
By Vivian Nguyen
At the XingLong vocational school I learned a lot. By observing the lifestyle of the students, I learned how they do not have much of an opinion in what happens in their own lives, such as what they eat, wear, the time they go to bed, and most importantly, what their career will be. The students know how fortunate they are to be able to go to school so they are very grateful for anything that is given to them. Seeing their lifestyle has made me realize how I can be selfish sometimes and take things for granted like free education. I feel like I will learn to stop and appreciate the things that come to me so easily. I will think of them when things don't go my way and I know it won't be such a big deal because I know they are less fortunate.
By Aina Lott
My most memorable experience in China was the four lovely days we spent at the XingLong Vocational School . From the moment we arrived to the school we felt the students were exceptionally welcoming.
Upon our arrival at the school, all the students were lined up and gave us a warm welcome. They clapped, cheered and smiled. I was shocked to see the mayor and television crew waiting for us. We were welcomed with open arms. I know for a fact that my classmates and I never expected such love and appreciation. From that moment on we knew that we were about to experience something amazing.
It's amazing what you can learn in four days!!! I've learned so much. I've learned to appreciate everything that I have back at home. Queen sized bed, cable television, family, and wonderful friends that I have been blessed with I have often taken for granted.
The students were exceptionally welcoming and so nice. In return we planted and sold Bonsai trees to raise money for the school. It was really fun trying to sell the trees, because we were foreigners and everyone wanted to take our pictures, hence we used it as a propaganda scheme. If customers didn't buy a tree they were not allowed to take pictures with us. In the end it all worked out. We raised over $2000 and sold two-thirds of all the trees. It made us really happy that we could help further the students' education.
The four days we spent at the countryside was the most amazing time spent in China . I would like to thank Mrs. Liu for this opportunity and all the people of Hebei Province for taking us in and making us feel so welcome.
By Vanessa Beliard
[Thoughts from Chinese students]