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Friday, July 24, 2015

Learning From Peers

Breakfast today
Today, we had breakfast in the Houston Hall. There was a crepe place there that we have been wanting to try for a long time and also we needed a break from the 1920 Commons food. I ordered a mixed berry with nutella crepe and a green tea. After eating for a while, Eli Lesser, the Academic Director, saw us and came over to talk to us. He asked us how class was going and we said that we enjoyed it. Time went by fast and we had to hurry to our classrooms.

All of today's sessions were prepared by some for the students in the program. In the morning, we could choose between a session about hip-hop or the Umbrella Movement that happened in Hong Kong the past year. I chose to go to the Umbrella Movement because I knew a lot about it. 

I followed the news about the protest closely last year so I wanted to see what the studentshad to say about it. The student who led it, Amanda Sin, did a great job in informing the audience about how the problem started and why people were protesting. She started the lecture by talking about the origins of how Hong Kong became a British Colony and ended with the political questions that arose after the colony was handed back to China. It's unfortunate to know that China is not keeping their part of the bargain of letting the people of Hong Kong choose their own governor or Chief Executive. Right now, the candidates who are running to be the Chief Executive officer of Hong Kong is chosen by the Chinese Communist Party and then the senators in Hong Kong vote for the Chief Executive officer. This was one of the reasons why people were protesting. What a lot of people didn't know was that there's a lot of cultural discrimination that is happening between the Chinese and the Hong Kongers even though both are considered to be Chinese. Due to the discrimination between the Chinese and Hong Kongers, the tension between the two regions has increased over the years.

The last half of the session was open for questions and comments. Amanda was very good with answering the questions students and staff had. The whole session was about one and a half hours. 

In the next morning session, another student led the session and we watched a documentary called Schooled: The Price of College Sports. The documentary was about how and why college athletes or "student athletes" don't get paid for playing an NCAA sport and the consequences of that. The university and NCAA claim that tuition is enough to pay for them. However, although the students are athletes, they are not treated as one. One person from the documentary described it as "being an indentured servant to college sports." The most depressing part about the NCAA is that students cannot take any money that is given to them or else it will be counted as bribery and the student may be expelled or lose their scholarship. This whole system sucks and it's terrible to see that these students are being treated like they aren't humans. The documentary really opened my eyes about college sports but there is so little I can do to change their policies regarding the player and the sport. 


The afternoon session was also led by students. We had the option to chose between a session about reforming education and the difference between each country's economy. I chose to go to the education session because I think that there are a lot of flaws within the system and I wanted to hear what my peers thought too. A lot of people in that session had very similar ideas about what should be reformed in the public education system. We believe that the amount of money a school gets should not be determined by state testing and the Board of Education should seek out different methods. I think that everyone really wanted to do something about the way public education is working now but we don't know how to change it and we can only talk about the problems.
Student led session about education
Very tiny and expensive shrimp roll
Jun, Chiamaka, Elexis, Justeen, and I went to Center City in Philadelphia because we have heard great things about it. We had only an hour and a half to shop and walk around the city. In Center City, we went shopping around the clothing stores and some people bought stuff. I didn't buy anything from any of the clothing stores because I was saving my money for dinner at Luke's Lobster. I have heard really good things about this restaurant so I really wanted to try it. When I was trying to find the restaurant, a nice homeless woman gave me directions so to thank her, I bought her a cup of clam clowder from the restaurant. I have never done a deed like this before and it felt nice to help somebody who was in need.

After we came back from Center City, everyone went to go get food at a food truck and we chilled in a lounge on Jun's floor. We hung out there until we had to sign in and then everybody parted ways.

Tomorrow will be the last day of this program and I cannot believe how fast time flies. I know that I have said that a million times in the past three weeks but it's unbelievable. As much as I hate the weather here, I have grown attached to this place and wish that our time here was longer. But it is what it is. The amount of knowledge I have gained over the past three weeks is unbelievable.

1 comment:

  1. This blog is full of so many interesting topics.

    You can't expect the Hong Kongers to be British for 99 years and then all of a sudden be Chinese overnight. It's not going to happen. And you can't expect the Chinese government--who has been communist for 66 years and were ruled under an iron thumb for centuries before that, to have any real idea what democracy is supposed to look like.

    And don;t get me started about the NCAA. Did they mention that the athletes cannot even have a job? This is because the NCAA would claim that the only reason they have a job is because they're an athlete and that this is a special privilege not afforded to every non-athlete. Because I was a sponsor of Cal athletics I was not allowed to give photos to the athletes unless I offered free photos to non-athletes as well. I couldn't give the athletes a ride from the stadium back to their dorms unless I stopped and offered free rides to non-athletes, too. The NCAA can be pretty draconian.

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