On November 19 and 20, more than 40 international students from various countries visited Shanghai’s Jinshan and Fengxian districts to experience Chinese culture.
Walking on the three-arch bridge in Fengjing ancient town in Jinshan district, they checked out the traditional stores and restaurants with great interest. Sonny, an ECNUer from the Philippines, was very much fascinated by the overall atmosphere in Jinshan. “I fell in love with the old town’s atmosphere,” he said.
Alexandre from Canada added, “I am amazed at the roof, and the kind of history it conveys.” He pointed towards some small plants growing on the roof and shared what he felt with us. “I wish I could come back again and walk on this ancient street,” said Brian from Korea. Daria Rachkova from Ukraine shared how welcoming and friendly the people are at Fengjing. “They are so lovable”, she said.
The next stop was the Peasant Painting Museum. The museum houses a collection of ‘peasant paintings’ with simple styles and an exaggerated description of the life and activities here over time. Students met some famous ‘peasant painters’ who walked them through the museum and then to their painting houses.
Many students and teachers were invited to express their opinions on art at the painting house. They learned to draw peasant paintings and understand the history of Jinshan Peasant Painting Village.
On Nov 20, students were hosted by the people of Fengxian, a rice-farming town that is well demarcated with paddy fields in between nicely built storey-buildings. In the vast field stood long flattened leaves borne on hollow stems. The students rushed into the fields with gloves on and sickles in their hands, ready to harvest rice. This was surely a new part of their China experience.
Noh Sooyeon and Kwon Nakyeong, both from Korea, said, “It is tedious to work here all day; we have to be thankful to the rice farmer”.
Busrafrom Turky, Joshua from Indonesia, and Yolamu from Zambia, were getting involved in the harvesting activities, “This is good and interesting. It’s nice to see rice being cut, threshed, and finally cooked.” After the harvest, the students enjoyed the town together by cooking rice prepared in bamboo sticks.
Every year, ECNU holds cultural activities for international students so that they can adapt to and better experience a new culture.
Since 2019, ECNU also opened a new course ‘Story of China’ for all international students, letting ECNUers better understand China's history, status quo and future development trend through story telling.
Author: David Kyei-Nuamah
Photo by: Liu Xiaoyu, Zang Qianxi
Copy editor: Joshua Mayfield
Editor: Li Mengjie