Walker's walk through Xiamen

March 11, 2010 in China by Ari Daniel

By Walker Smith

Today was our chance to see the state of ocean education in Xiamen, as we were able to visit Kenji Affiliated School and meet with students from the Middle and High Schools. We had a presentation by a selected student who talked about the school and marine science club, and then we talked with small groups of students (who had questions prepared for us). One student in my group had spent a year in the US, as his mother was a visiting professor at Brown! He expressed annoyance at how Chinese are portrayed by movies and TV. We then toured the school grounds some, and I played badminton with a student. Although we overstayed our allotted time, it gave us all a chance to better understand the issues of the children as they relate to ocean education.

Then food. We all embarrassed ourselves at an international buffet where we had food ranging from chicken feet to samosas to salad to steak. Note to self: lay off the chocolate fountain!

Then to Xiamen University where we interrupted a marine plankton course and again spoke with small groups about ocean education. I found the students to be quite diverse, with some wanting to attend graduate school, others wanting a job, and others wanting to get married! I had fun chatting with six young ladies and giving them candy! And telling them about my life as an oceanographer!

After a quick tour of various labs in Marine Environmental Research and a trip to Floor 21 for a panoramic view of Xiamen, we were taken to Egret Park for more food. It again was great: shrimp, crab, duck, duck liver, seafood soup, fish, noodles, desert, and the wonderful watermelon. Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the beer and wine. I found our Chinese hosts all charming and so very helpful. One can’t help but take a great impression home about China from them.

So the long day came to an end for some of us; others shopped and sang karaoke (at a KTV) for further relaxation. Tomorrow more experiences await us in Qingdao.

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