By Emeline A. ’19
On January 25th, all of the Mandarin classes as well as my own traveled to Chinatown, New York City. It was a very eye-opening experience and one that I learned a lot from.
This trip put me out of my comfort zone, mainly encouraging me to speak with others in Chinese. There were many encounters where I had converse with the people we met. When my friends and I went to a tea shop, we ordered boba milk tea in Chinese, “Wǒ kěyǐ yǒu bōbà nǎichá ne?”. I often find myself nervous speaking to strangers, even when ordering in English. As you can imagine I was anxious to speak to strangers in a language that is part of a different world. This experience pushed me to make bold choices, even if they are as simple as ordering a drink in a restaurant.
Going to Chinatown also showed me that there are many different ways of learning. Yes, it is important to practice vocabulary and grammar from a textbook. However, applying skills you learn in class to the real world means so much more. Learning all those characters, filling out worksheets, and having assessments means nothing without being able to take the information outside of the classroom. When I spoke with the people in Chinatown in Mandarin, I realized I am learning for a greater purpose. Not to do well in the class, but to generate an understanding of Chinese culture.
This is what makes Moses Brown different from other schools. As students we are able to learn outside of the classroom. This opens up a world of opportunities to me and my classmates. Learning has always had a deeper meaning at Moses Brown, and for this I am grateful.