Oxbridge Summer Camps Abroad

 

 

OSCA China 2008

 

There were two teams in China in the summer of 2008, one in Beijing and one in Foshan.

 

OSCA Beijing

 

This was our third year holding a project in Beijing and OSCA provided an unforgettable summer for all those involved. We held two camps at the High School Affiliated to Renmin University (RDFZ), a school with a reputation for being one of the best state schools in China (it even has its own Wikipedia entry). Our normal third camp - a project for disadvantaged children of migrant workers, held in a migrant community on the outskirts of Beijing – was disrupted this year because of the Olympics.


The students were enthusiastic and entertaining, whether we were debating basketball star Yao Ming’s height in the classroom or hearing about their fascination for dinosaurs and durians over lunch in the school canteen. We had days out to the old Summer Palace, a class Olympics and on the last day of camp the teachers were taken out by students for an interesting evening of Karaoke.


The opening ceremony’s play of “Cinderella” – featuring two ugly “sisters” in drag – set the tone for the rest of the camp. Cross-dressing would feature again in the Fashion show, the Murder Mystery afternoon and student plays presented at the closing ceremony where we saw many variations on “Kung Fu Panda” (including “Kung Fu Snow White”) and one class’s epic attempt at condensing “The Sound of Music” which ended with an interesting Steps sing-along.


Being accommodated within RDFZ provides the perfect base to explore Beijing. The city has benefited greatly from improvements to infrastructure for the Olympics, and during our stay a new tube station opened just yards from the school. Beijing itself is a truly wonderful city; a mixture of the very ancient maintaining its place amidst the city’s rapid modernisation. Trips to the Forbidden City, Great Wall, and going to the Olympics were obvious highlights. The food was excellent; with noodle bars, Korean barbecue, dumplings, Mongolian hot-pot and traditional Chinese cuisine all available in our local neighbourhood. The summer of 2008 was an incredibly exciting time to be in Beijing itself, although many teachers did interesting things post-teaching: some went south to Shanghai and then took the ferry to Japan, whilst others continued exploring southern China before finishing in Hong Kong.


2008 Team: Cian O’Duffy (Director), June Wang (Manager), Andrew Christie, Bethany Condron, Susan Crowley, Becky Driscoll, Alexander Glasner and Jon Monk.

You can see some of the pictures taken by the OSCA Beijing volunteers here.

 

OSCA Foshan

 

The 2008 Foshan camp was the first OSCA had held in China’s Guangdong Province. The city, just a few hours from Hong Kong, offers a very different experience to its bustling neighbour. With over one million residents zooming around on mopeds Foshan is far from quiet but the people are very friendly, welcoming and proud of their home. The 9 day camp took place in Foshan Huijing Middle School, which boasts huge grounds and very modern facilities in a predominantly residential area of the Chancheng district.

 

The first day of the camp kicked off with a now legendary performance of “Oliver Twist and The Chocolate Factory” by the teachers which set the tone for what was to be an exciting, fun-filled nine days. Typically, our day began at 9am with three hours of lessons during which, accompanied by our fantastic teaching assistants, we entertained and educated the students by playing games, doing fun classroom activities and singing about bananas and frogs. After lunch we focused on drama for an hour, this time encouraging the students to entertain us, which they did with great enthusiasm by performing class plays in our closing ceremony on the final day. Each day ended with a whole camp activity. These ranged from the particularly competitive bridge building event to a fashion show complete with the most inventive shark costume Foshan has ever seen and not forgetting the very popular and realistic murder mystery.

 

Another highlight of the team’s time in Foshan were invitations to dine with students in their homes, some teachers even being given the chance to make their own dumplings. These visits proved highly enjoyable and memorable for teachers, students and their families. The team also indulged in some well deserved foot massages and took full advantage of the many restaurants nearby.

 

2008 Team: Jane McIvor (director), Jasmine Ho, Philip Maughan, Paddy Brannac, Grace Rigg, Emma Woods and Sarah Bartley.


You can see some of the pictures taken by the OSCA Foshan volunteers here.


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