Passing by the halfway mark of the DATE program and this week was marked by the finalization of The Central theme of the theme project, planning a trip to Yunnan during recess week and a weekend trip to Shanghai.
As the 2nd last week leading up to recess week, my group of friends and I decided to spend the recess week in Yunnan and I’m very happy that I have the opportunity to go to Yunnan. As I thought about what I wanted to do during the recess week, there were mainly two camps of though which was to either continue with the school programs or to have my own learning journey and adventure trips.
After some thought, I decided that I’ll take recess week as a break from DATE and making use of this summer break. In addition to this, I genuinely felt that there were many learning opportunities that could be made even when going for travel to Yunnan. Having to meet new people, experience people’s different approach to life and intangible values that can be acquired having time by yourself to think through what values mean to me. Moving on with the travel plan, we decided that we would be taking the train systems within China without the use of any air transportation as China has a very develop and well-connected train system. The emphasis of China on a strong transportation as a basis for a strong country really intrigued me. Having come from Singapore, where many parts of Singapore is very easily accessible without the need of complex infrastructure. In China, due to its sheer size, it’s impossible for leisure and business travel to be conducted without a good network of transportation.
This week we had a really important theme meeting where we were able to finalize the details for the final theme project. We settled the timeline of when we are going to get the individual components completed for the presentation of the final product. I’m thankful for my theme members and mentor for making this project very successful and meaningful thus far.
To end of this week, my friends and I decided to spend the weekend in Shanghai and it’s a very fun and interesting opportunity for me, being able to see the different cities of China. Seeing what is unique about each city and if there’s common identifying traits of each city.
On the first day, we spent the first half of the day exploring the French and the old street of Shanghai on bicycle. I found that many cities in China are very bike friendly and is a very convenient way of exploring the streets and allows for what I feel as a very authentic experience of the city. Having the flexibility of the transportation to go to places beyond train and bike access, yet at the same time covering distance that would be very tiring and challenging on foot. We visited a park in Shanghai, where we saw an interesting use of an umbrella which was used to advertise the statistics of their children who have grown into adults but have yet to find a partner. These parents have taken the task of finding a partner into their own hands and have used the communal spaces of the park to allow them to advertise their children. They place information and often times picture of their children to let other interested parents judge if they think that they will be mutually beneficial to be together. Towards the evening, we spent the time walking along a popular tourist street which was interesting how they use existing traditional infrastructure and blend it with modern shops and themes. I found that being able to find a balance to achieve this sort of tourism very applaudable as this creates sustainable tourism where the traditional buildings and infrastructure are preserved but at the same time allow for growth and development of the area. At night, we visited shanghai most well known tourist attraction which was The Bund which was a walkway where foot-walkers are able to marvel at the Shanghai skyline with many towering structures and lights that shows the rapid growth and development of this city.
The next day, we explored the streets of 田子坊which was another tourist street with low rise old style brick buildings where they again were able to meld old infrastructure with a business model to keep the area prosperous. Afterwards, we headed to the outskirts of town where we accidentally stumbled upon Fudan university which had a really beautiful and modern campus. We were most impress by the flagship building which towered high above the surrounding buildings in the vicinity and the green area around the campus allowed for visitors and students alike a place to relax and chill over the weekend while we were there.
All in all, this week although uneventful, sets the pace for the next coming couple of weeks which will be focusing intensively on the final theme project.