Final Evaluation thoughts and comments!

Thank you everyone so far who has made a contribution to the return visit in 2009 by Shandong Youth Federation.  For those of you who have not commented yet its never too late so get blogging!

I would be really interested to know what you think worked about the programme of activities, the learning you have gained during the programme and what learning you think the chinese young people will take away with them.

We are meeting on 10th September to evaluate the programme for our YOF funders but your comments may help others planning a trip or planning a return exchange to think about some of the good bits and some of the not so good bits about the process.

What do you think? Maralyn


Josh Chinese Experinace July 24th -4th Aug

Well here we all 9 months after are original trip to China .. and now it’s are turn to be the hosts, and what an experience it has been.

I first meet the Chinese group at county hall in Chichester on Wednesday 29 July, they seamed like a nice enough bunch of young people, and after a few warm and friendly games organised by Dahlia the group began to open up and become more chatty.. I was really excited and happy that our Chinese tour guide Ivan had been able to accompany the Chinese young people to the UK and couldn’t wait to catch up with her. It was also nice to see members of the original UK group who travelled to China and who had help plan the visit with the help of Maralyn, Jane & Steve. After lunch we were asked to take the Chinese young people into Chichester for a bit of shopping.. something they seamed to enjoy doing a lot (but that’s another story)

On Thursday 30th July Me, Maddie, Sophie and Jeremy travelled with the young people to Brighton. The first part of the tour was spent at the University listening at Jane  explain about some of the course on offer and the education system in the UK & some of the female students seamed particularly interested in this, however most of the boys seamed board if I’m honest.  After lunch at the University we took the young people to the Royal pavilion however as it was closed Maralyn and Steve suggested that after they Chinese had finished taking photos that Me, Maddie & Sophie should take them shopping in Brighton …… Well that was a challenge in it self we were each allocated 4 young people to look after, however we thought it would be easier to walk around Brighton in a big group, what a mistake every shop we walked was a waiting target and before you could do anything half the group and disappeared through the shop doors ( very frustrating when you have a time scale to stick to) Anyway Me, Maddie & Sophie somehow managed to keep them together and didn’t lose a single one unlike the day before. After 2hrs walk around Churchill Square and shopping we took the Chinese down to the sea life centre were Maralyn and Steve were waiting for us, Along the way we brought a Pride flag to keep the group together and as we made are way down to the sea life centre shouts of ” two dollar” echoed from the front of the group ( what a sight it must have been) I don’t think the Chinese group appreciated the sea life centre and we more then happy to be hurried through by there group leader Ivan who by the looks of things was finding it hard to let go of being in charge. After the sea life centre we took the group for fish and chips on the pier this was such a funny thing to watch as the group tried to copy how we were holding and using a knife and folk to eat dinner after a few attempts though must of them pick t up rather well

On Saturday 1st Aug we took the group to Arundel castle to watch the jousting and medieval events.  However due to typical English weather the rain put pay to the jousting and we head back to the youth centre. The day was not wanted though as the group did get to explore the castle and the grounds in the morning something they couldn’t agree on if they enjoyed or not. For lunch me. Maddie & Sophie treated the group to a hog roast something they enjoyed ..but didn’t fill them up with this we head back to the dinning room to buy them some more food.  Saturday was also home stay night and very exciting and nerve raking at the same time, I was allocated Dracula and Frankie, after arriving home I told them it was my Nan’s birthday with this they rushed up stairs and bring down boxes and bags of gifts for her something we had not been expecting, that evening the had spaghetti Bolognese which I think they enjoyed. After dinner i asked them what they would like to do they said they wanted to stay in so we settled down and watched harry potter before heading to bed. Not every exciting but it had been a long day …

On Sunday it was agreed that Myself, Maddie, Dahlia, Rosie and Sophie would meet up at Tillgate park in Crawley with are home stay students this way we thought everyone would be happy and we wouldn’t have any of those awkward silences.. On this day if found the group to be honest and blunt about the truth and found it frustrating that Frankie and Dracula kept complain about the fact they were board and want to go shopping and that they were hungry even though they had just been feed. After 4 hrs at Tillgate the group headed for crawly shopping centre for lunch and Shopping time….When then returned to Home for dinner before heading of Bowling for the evening. On Sunday we decided to give the Chinese and English Chinese which they found very different and strangely they preferred it to the really thing over dinner interesting conversation developed about china and how it was opening up to the west after the Olympics games and government was “Changing.” after bowling we ended up back at Dahlia’s for drinks and a chat, before heading home about 11:00

I found the home stay a bit of a challenge and was glad that we meet up as a group on Sunday as it meant the day didn’t drag by.. it also gave me other people to chat to and not just Frankie and Dracula. If i had to do a home stay again I think it would be better to have 2 students for just the one night rather than two.. That I think is something al of us who did a home stay agreed on.

On Monday we meet at Adur Activities centre for a debrief on the home stay and team building activities.. I think the Chinese young people enjoyed themselves and a good time, however i found it a bit to full on and just want some time to relax on my own which most of the group caught on to. I helped Jane and Steve set up the BBQ in the afternoon along with Rosie, Maddie and Sophie. I found the BBQ rather frustrating because after telling everyone to take 1 of each item and them come back for more the Chinese young people just filled there plates and had more then anyone else.. That night it was nice to come home and sleep in my own bed.

On Tuesday 4th Aug It was the formal dinner and everyone was really excited Me, Maddie, Will, Dahlia and Rosie turned up early to help Maralyn and Jane set up for the evening. Sophie had travelled the group to Portsmouth for the day and was looking forward to have a catch up with everyone, after the important people had made there speeches it was dinner time conversation filled the room and so did laughter and the sound of clunking knifes and forks everyone seamed to be having a good time, at the end of the meal each member of the UK group was presented with a little present from the Group leader Mr snow. something we were not expecting and found very touching, the meal finished around 9:30 and it was home to pack ready for are London adventure on Wednesday.

Home stay!!

Home stays, i was so excited to find out that i was having two chinese young people staying in my house! I told everybody i knew haha!!

There was already 5 of us living in my house with three bedrooms. My mum and dad, my two sisters and myself. Christina and Michelle came to stay with me. I was glad i had these two because i stayed with Christina’s family in China and wanted to show her my family and life. I was glad michelle was staying as well as she was one of the most confident and talktative and i had really bonded with Michelle.

The two girls seemed very happy about coming to stay with me and also very excited. They were amazed about all the countryside we passed on the way to my house!

When we arrived at my home and they saw the size of my house and how many cars we have. We have four cars they were amazed that we could have so many. They then met my family. There is quite alot of them, infact they only met just a small portion. I introduced them to my twin sister Averil, my little sister Siobhan and my mum and Dad. Also my other members of our family; our PETS!!!!!

I have two dogs, a cat  and a Bearded Dragon. They loved them all, they wanted to take so many pictures. They were fascinated that we treated our pets as part of the family. In China they do not keep many pets.

For dinner we all sat around the table apart from my parents who sat in their chair. We did sort of a buffet meal of salad bit, jacket potato, scotch eggs, mini sausages, bread rolls. We thought this would give them a choice and allow them to pick their own food. We all know there is nothing worse than having food on your plate you dont like. They actually ate loads, which shocked me, they were very very hungry.

After dinner my parents went out to the pub. Christina and Michelle were very tired so i decided to put on a dvd that Christina had brought. I then brought the duvets down stairs and we all snuggled under the duvets together eating pop corn and ice cream. This was really nice, i think they felt very relaxed as we were just getting know each other as friends.

In the morning i thought i would be nice and let them have a lie in, but when i went up stairs they were all ready up and a wake. In china they seem to get up really early where as i like my beauty sleep. HAHA.  I then went and had a shower. Christina and Michelle obviously felt very comfortable as they went down stairs of their own accord with my family and ate a fried breakfast with them without me lol

After a lot of discussion we met up with the other chinese people and english group and went to Tilgate park. Here we took them to the little farm where they saw pig, sheep, cows, horses, peacocks etc. They also looked around all the lake and gardens. Alot of them really liked the gardens, thought it was very picturess.

In the afternoon we went and sat by the lake and played games and had a mini picnic. We then took them all in to Crawley as they wanted to go shopping. Which i must say none of this would have happened with out the support of all our families. MY parents bless hung around all day to give us lifts to different places, as did josh;s dad and rosies parents. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

In crawley we let them have their own time at gave them a time to meet. They really enjoyed shopping as they had all broughts lots of money. After Crawley we all went our seperate ways. Me and emma then took my two my pub where i work and we met u[ with my sister who had just finished her shift. It is a family pub in the countryside. I took them there for a traditional roast dinner and they were very interested to see where i worked. They had never been in a pub before so were taking lots of photos. This must have looked very funny to the customers, and my colleages were very up for being photographed.

They choose to eat roast beef with yorkshire pudding. They managed to eat it all. After i dedcided to order them dessert. However this proved very difficult as they had no idea what most of them were, this put my knowlege of what was in each one to the test. In the end they decided to have ice cream!

After to the pub we took them to the Guildford Spectrum Centre. We got there an hour early so we showed them the swimming pool area, where we watched some under water hockey team. Then took them down to show them the Bowling. Michelle mentioned that she really loved Bowling so i decided to have one game with them. Michelle ended up winning the game, it was close between her and my little sister the whole way through.

We then went down to the ice skating rink. I prepared before and made sure i knew what english shoe size they were. Also i gave them a pair of gloves each to protect their hands in case they fell. We went on the ice about half 8. I took them at that time because it was the special disco night, with flashing lights and disco music. There faces were alight with excitement, they had never been ice skating before. Me and my sister Averil can Ice skate really well, so we took one each. I had Christina as she was a little more nervous and i was responsible for their safety. Averil had Michelle. We skated around holding handes so we supported them in case they fell. THey both took to the ice really well, espcially Michelle who by the end of it could skate backwards! They both were skating my themselves with us next to them of course.

I brought some sweets for the journey back home as they were hungry again. By the time we left it was about 10pm. They were both extrememly tired and fell asleep on the way home.

I was so shocked about how much they ate whilst on the home stay! on Sunday they had a Fried Breakfast in the morning, snacks and ice cream from the cafe, burger king in crawley, full roast dinner plus dessert at the pub and sweets at ice skating. A big appetite for people so small! All i have to do is look at a cake and i gain weight lol.

I learnt alot of things on the home stay. One thing that did stick in my head is how private they are. Before we went ice skating i told them to put warm clothes on, so christina took her cardi off n was wearing just a strap top. Michelle gasped and was embarressed. I didnt understand, they then explained to me that in China they like to not show too much flesh and cover up. This did not even occur to me as i dont think any thing of walking around in a strap top.

Also Christina was shocked that we were allowed to sit on the floor, and in England we sit on the floor alot. In her home and in China they never sit on the floor or if they do they sit on a sheet. I was laying on the floor watching TV and playing with my dogs.

Also they both were shocked about how much indepence we had as young people. They both said they we have so many activites near to us that we can do. Also that we went out until late at night ice skating far away with out our parents including my litle sister who was 12 who came with us. They were shocked they we did not have to call our parents at any time or did not have a deadline to be back by. Also when my mum and dad went out and left us by ourselves. they found this very strange.

Both Christina and Michelle were very comfortable at my house and became one of the family! I was surprised about how comfortable they felt, they freely got up in the morning with out me there came down and spoke to my family, ate break fast with them, had a shower with out me suggesting it.

ME and my family will stay in contact with both of them. Michelle has invited me in the future years to come stay with her and her family!! I will defiantely go to China again some day! Infact i have already emailed both of them and had a reply since they have been back in China.

Return Homestay 2009 – Rosie

After a raining day at Arundel Castle which unfortunately I couldn’t take part in, I met up with Sharon and Susan my two home stay visitors at Arnundel Youth Centre.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and how much English the students would know.  Well I must say how amazing their English was and how lovely they were.  Polite, well mannered and always happy: no matter what time they had to get up!

Saturday night was spent at home with the whole family,  first we exchanged gifts and then we had   fish and chips  for dinner which everyone enjoyed.  We spoke about the differences in culture and the similarities.  Especially houses – apparently in China if you live by the sea you are very wealthy, which I found amusing, they were  very taken by the size of our house and explained that it felt strange as in China most families live in apartments.

Sunday we spent the day at Tillgate Park after a morning walking round looking at the animals and lake we went to Crawley Shopping Centre.  We took our guests to the food court and we were surprised to see them  flock towards Burger King instead of the healthy options, I must admit when we were in China we all headed towards the McDonald and Pizza Hut, so I guess that was one thing we had in common (fast food).   On Sunday evening we had a traditional roast dinner which again went down well.  After dinner we met up with most of the group again and went bowling which was fun.

Monday morning was an early rise – 6.30am as we had to have breakfast and get to the Adur Centre for 9am.  So that was the end of their homestay.  Although it was a bit of a whirlwind I hope they enjoyed staying as much as we enjoyed having them stay.  We tried to show them a typical British family home with traditional food which I think we succeeded in.

Saturday-Arundle Castle – sophie

Saturday we went to Arundle Castle. We got to the castle a little too early and the castle itself has not opened yet. But instead we went and had a look at the chapel and the gardens which some of the chinese students really liked, especially Kiara, Susan and Sherrie.

We eventually looked around the castle, which had an amazing view well for those people who looked any way or liked heights :S Most of the Chinese students liked and enjoyed the castle, they seemed very interested in it but some of them like michelle were really tired  and i think found it hard to take in . They were also very hungry, they all kept mentioning that they were hungry through the whole castle view. So we went down to the hog roast and gave them a hog roast baguette. Hmmmmm but when we got there the baguettes were absolutely tiny, this would not fill up the stomaches of these hungry teenagers! So a trip to the castle restaurant we went, we brought lots of cakes for them all to try. This kept them going just about until tea time.

Hmmm after lunch was rotaed the fight between the Knights. But when we got outside it was absolutely tipping it down, i am not even joking, imagine all the rain in the world, well it was in Arundle. We stayed to watch the fight, which was quite funny and scary at the same time! They were using – yes – REAL swords, hmmm looked very dangerous.

In the end we did not get a chance to see the Jousting event because it did not stop raining. We are used to the wet weather where as the Chinese were getting very cold and wanted to go. So we headed back to Arundle Youth Club for fun and games. FUN FUN FUN………………………………… and then came the home stays!!!!!!!   Exciting :D!!!!!

Day Two-Taking Chinese young people to Brighton- Sophie

I met Maralyn, the chinese group and the others going to brighton at 8.00am at the ardington hotel in Worthing. Were the Chinese people stayed the night. Felt so early, i had not been up that early in ages!!!

We then travelled down by coach to Brighton university. We arrived a little bit too early so the coach driver took us all on a road passing the downs and across the race course so everybody could see the coutry side. Then we arrived at the university to meet Jane and Tracey waiting for us.

Jane works at Brighton University so showed us around, we listended to talks by Tracey and Ben ( a student at the uni). The Chinese young people seemed very interested in the different ways we enter our Univeristies. I found out that they have to take an entry exam which they study a whole year for and if they fail they have to do the year again. This is very different to England.

After the University we took them into Brighton town to look at the Pavillions but it was closed. They took lots of pictures infront of it instead. We went into the museum. Most of the Chinese students were fairly interested in the history art that was in there, but they got distracted quite quickly and did not want to spend long in there at all. However they knew alot about the history and were asking alot of questions

Then came shopping in Brighton! We all were in charge of four Chinese students each and were responsible for making sure they stayed with the group. We took them through the lanes and in to Church Hill Square. This was a nightmare keeping them all together as the lanes were so crowded.

After shopping we went to the SEA LIFE centre, the highlight of this was the feeding of the sharks. I think the chinese really enjoyed this seeing all the different fish in the tanks. By this time we were running very late, and everybody was really hungry, so we ran across to the pier for fish and chips. Josh and myself thought this was funny that we had just looking at all the beautiful fish in the tank and were then eating one for dinner haha! The fish chips seemed to go down better than the idian they had the night before. They dont seem to like Idian but all ate their fish and chips!

I was shattered after that day in Brighton!

Meeting the Chinese people for the first time – Sophie :D

It was a shock to me that the Chinese people were coming over so early, i did not release until a week before. I was also asked to do a home stay for two young people! I was so excited about them coming over. I really wanted them to see our country and how we lived after visiting theirs and experiencing new things! We were not sure which Chinese young people were comin over as we were only given their chinese names. We hoped it was the same young people that we did our home stays with.

On wednesday we met the chinese young people at the County Hall in Chichester in the morning. Maddie, Will, Tom, James, Dahlia, Steve, the youth cabnet and myself were there to greet the chinese young people when they arrived. We held up a banner which welcomed them in English and Chinese. Also flowers for our lovely tour guide in China IVAN!     

When they arrived my coach and saw our banner, the Chinese people were Smiling and waving at us. They were very excited and happy to see us. Ivan then came running off and gave us all a really big hug as we have not seen her in 9 months. The Chinese young people got off the coach and we all introduced ourselves. They were very friendly and chatty and could speak extrememly good english much more than we could speak chinese. They were all different chinese people from our home stays apart from Christina, the girl that i did my home stay with. She ran up to me when she got off the coach and gave me a hug. I was very pleased that Christina was here and that i would get a chance to show her my home and family.

The morning consisted of introducing our names and what we liked best about England, also doing speed dating. Each of the Chinese young people had chosen their own English names. Some of the names were really funny. For example Jackie Chan and Dracula. 

When we did speed dating we got to speak to each of the chinese people and find our about different topics such as transport, education and culture, and the similarities between our country and China. It was extremely interesting for both groups and we really enjoyed it. It also gave us a chance to get to know each other a lot better.

After lunch we took the Chinese people into Chichester and showed them around the Cathedral. They found this very facinating and were asking alot of questions. We tried our very best to answer them but hmmm cathedrals are not my best subject to talk about lol. We then watched the army troops walk through the square when they retured from Afganistan. The chinese young people really respected this and felt privaliged to see this. We managed to sneak a picture with a couple of the soldiers. 😀

Then came the free time in Chichester. Each english young person including myself was incharge of four chinese people. We took them shopping and showed them around the shops. Maddie and myself took the girls into girly shops and josh, tom, Will and lara took the boys into the other shops.

Being in charge of them all if i am honest was very exhausting and sometimes stressful. We now no how youth workers or teachers feel on trips trying to keep track of everybody. They kept scattering all over the shop and were hard to keep togther. Also they all had 50 pound and 100 pound notes, which obviously the shops would not except. We had to explain to them that we dont  use big amounts of money usually!