R&S Students Participate In The Asia-Pacific Youth Environmental Forum 2014 In Korea


My first day in Korea was a mixture of great expectations and worries. On one hand, I looked forward to a great learning experience. On the other hand, I was worried whether I could communicate well with students from different countries. Because our plane was late, we missed the opening ceremony, ice breaking games as well as a small-scale sports meet which I had hoped to participate in. What a shame we didn’t get to know students from other schools at the sports meet! Later when we were eating the late-night snack, teammates of Han Qixiu (one member of our group) found us and showed us the prizes they had won at the sports meet——some Korean snacks. I really admired their success, given that only a limited number of teams could win prizes and they only had three team members. Then they gave out all the snacks to us so that we could have a good taste of the genuine Korean flavor. How nice they were!

Not until we arrived at our dormitory did we know that all the groups were taken apart and we were to share rooms with students from other groups. This was a well-meaning arrangement in order to let us make more friends.

Strangely, before stepping into the room, the teacher who led us took off his shoes. We never did that in our dormitory in China. My roommates explained that this could help keep the room clean. Then I lay on my back on the floor like my Korean friends. How relaxing it was!

When I realized other three roommates were all Koreans, I was really worried that they may keep me out of their circle. Instead, they were very friendly and we chatted happily till late at night. I needn’t have worried. If I myself had had a foreign visitor to my house, I would have welcomed him, wouldn’t I?

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July 28 was the second day when we were in Korea. Early in the morning, I was woken by the loud sound of the wake-up call. After breakfast, I finally saw my group members. Our group, H6, consisted of us Chinese, three Korean boys and an Indian girl. After greeting each other, we went together to the opening ceremony held in the auditorium. Long as it was, the ceremony still made us environmentalists excited. Later, we began to talk about our group project. Because the three Korean boys had made a series of surveys, investigations and interviews about the issue of protecting coral reefs, the theme of our project was set to be “raising people’s awareness of the importance to protect coral reefs by publicity and protecting the coral reefs by personal actions of environment protection and emission reduction”.

In the afternoon, we listened to an inspiring lecture of a CEO, whose presentation made us fully aware of what should be paid attention to, such as thinking out of the box, and how to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Later, our group headed out to a physics lab to discuss our project. After listing our preliminary ideas on the memo pages, our project plan about how to publicize the coral reef protection was finally put forward. In the evening, we resumed our discussion in the lab and then started writing the project thesis. What a fruitful day it was!

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On the third day, instead of continuing our former group projects, we were redivided into several groups according to our dormitory rooms. Because we were to visit the Korean Folk Village and required to create a poster by teamwork. Since it was the first time that we had gone abroad, we were really looking forward to the excursion.

Set up to introduce Korean culture to visitors, the Korean Folk Village reserved many local traditional countryside buildings and customs, which were of great help to our understanding of the Korean culture.

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Our group mainly did research on the differences in housing and the lifestyle of different socio-economic groups. The cottages which belonged to the common people were simple and unadorned, in which tools were the symbols of the hard farming labor of the ancient Korean agricultural society. By contrast, the mansions of officials were far more luxury, equipped with educational and recreational facilities. When we were touring around the traditional buildings, I found they were quite similar to China’s ancient buildings in North, with paper-cutting pasted on window panes, which demonstrated that China and Korea had had cultural exchanges since long time ago. We also enjoyed many performances with South Korean characteristics: the Korean bass drum was deafening, whose sound combined with the cheerful dance displayed the festive happiness of the farmers; the rope-walking performers were skilled and brisk in pace, whose breathtaking performance was really unnerving. What’s more, brilliant horse riding performances, including rolling on horseback and the archery art, were very impressive.

After we arrived at school, all groups began to make posters. Because there were two Chinese students in our group, we decided on the topic of “the differences in the culture and hierarchy between China and South Korea. The division of work was clear: some searched for material and pictures, some polished the language, and others beautified the image. Our group members were all responsible and, by availing themselves of their talents, a satisfying poster was finished within only two hours. Through this teamwork, we had a better knowledge of the importance of cooperation. Definitely, without the cooperation among group members, we couldn’t have finished the task in such a short time.

We rejoined our group of the former project to prepare for tomorrow’s presentation. Some groups who hadn’t decided their presentation form had to make the final decision in the evening.

In order to have a better performance the next day, many students were both excited and nervous. They tossed and turned until late at night. Some students even stayed up late to prepare for the presentation, to which they paid great attention.

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On the fifth day, students from different countries all gave brilliant group summary reports. Our group showed our opinions on the environmental issue by means of plays, debates, PPT, songs and so on. South Korean students, through a wonderful stage play, encouraged us to replace the traditional shampoos with environmental friendly ones so as to decrease the pollution to the environment. Students from Nepal expressed the urgency of environmental protection by singing and dancing. And Chinese students performed a comedy to show the harm that the acid rain did to the environment.

After dinner, the national cultural performance of Asia started and students from different countries gave splendid performances. First came the South Korean drum performance which was a magnificent spectacle. The following Mongolian Dance was a vivid display of the expansiveness of nomads. Later, beautiful songs performed by Indian students took us to the beautiful land of India. Finally, the Tai Chi show, Peking Opera performance and Yangtze River chorus separately from China Taiwan, China Hong Kong and the China mainland received applause from the audience.

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The last day is a mixture of happiness and sorrow: We all jumped for joy when our task was done well, but at the same time, we were saddened because it was time to leave. To begin with, everyone was laughing and talking, just like the first day when we arrived here. However, when it came to time to say goodbye, we broke into tears.

Everything went ahead as planned. First, the lecture. Then, the exhibition of exceptional groups. Next…… With the minutes slipping by, how I wished something would happen to delay the end of our trip! However, everything proceeded smoothly.

After staying together for six days, we were as close as family members. Who wouldn’t feel sad when it comes to separation?

In brief, although we were not awarded the title of “the outstanding group”, we did our best. With photos from the past six days displayed on the screen, some students started weeping. Definitely, at the thought of parting with those who were both our project partners and inseparable friends, we were overwhelmed with sorrow, let alone recognizing that we might not see each other again in future.

After all, there is no never-ending feast. When the activity coming to an end, we managed a forced smile to take a group photo and didn’t burst into tears until the photo was taken. As my close friend Jessica was leaving, she said “don’t cry at this moment” in Chinese. I tried to smile until she left. The moment I turned back, tears gushed from my eyes.

I sincerely hope that someday we can reunite at the same place and in the same clothes as today.


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