Diary of two Global Exchange Students in Shanghai

A recent addition to the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme is the YK PAO School on the outskirts of Shanghai, in China. The school offered an exciting cultural and educational experience for Lower Fifth girls, Hilary and Vasilisa who spent two weeks at the international school in April, 2019.

8 July 2019

Vasilisa and Hilary describe their experience, 

“The school day at YK PAO was very different – we had six lessons a day with five minutes in between. After the first two lessons, we had 30 minutes of community time on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and tutor time on Thursdays. On Friday, it was a shorter day because the school wanted the students to avoid the traffic, so the lessons were 55 minutes long and there was no break. 

We had an hour of CCA after lessons and we chose Fencing and Model UN. During the Model UN session, the group debated Euthanasia and whether prostitution should or should not be legalised. We tried to contribute to the discussion as we had studied Euthanasia in PSHE which is not allowed to be taught in Chinese schools. In the fencing class, we learnt a lot of new skills using the proper equipment and got to spar against each other. 

Over the weekend, I (Vasilisa) went to Belinda’s apartment in downtown Shanghai and I tried a lot of traditional dishes like Peking duck, Guangdong cuisine, jiggly cheesecake and xiao long bao which are meat dumplings with soup inside them. We also drank A LOT of bubble tea! On the first day, we had supper with her family whilst watching a traditional Chinese performance consisting of a comedy with a performance on the Guqin instrument and a mask and clothes dance.

We went to Zhongshan Park shopping mall and an exhibition by Yayoi Kusama who is a famous Japanese artist. They also took me to a theatre to watch the ‘Three Body Problem’ as it was in Chinese, I didn’t understand what they were saying but fortunately the plot was very simple to understand. On Sunday, we went to a traditional town called Zhu Jia Jiao on the edge of Shanghai and then we returned to school. 

 I, (Hilary), went to Titi’s house in central Shanghai over the weekend and we met up with some of our friends from YK Pao School. We also went to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Fosun Gallery and had Dim Sum at a place nearby.

After that, we went to the Rong Prada House and a café based off the TV show Friends. We ate traditional Shanghai cuisine at a restaurant and had Shanghai food, we did some shopping Tian Zi Fang there. On Sunday, we went to Shanghai Disneyland with a few of our friends. 

The girls thoroughly enjoyed their Global Exchange experience in Shanghai making new friends and learning about Chinese culture. In the Fifth Form, every girl has the opportunity to join the Global Schools Exchange Programme and choose from 16 partner schools spanning six continents, a very special opportunity to study and live abroad as well as providing a highly rewarding experience for the Downe House community to host visiting students from our partner schools.

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