Language Pledge in Beijing
It was a big day for us all in Beijing. After a night’s rest, students were all ready to go for their first day at the MMLA Beijing Academy. They started off with some testing and a taste of classes in the morning. We could tell everyone was having a good time, because we could hear students laughing all the way from our office!
While teachers were busy grading, our RAs led a series of exciting ice-breakers for students to get to know one another. They started off as one big group but then split off by class so students could get to learn more about the classmates and RA that they will be with for the next three weeks.
In the afternoon, students were finally able to exchange cash and take out money and RAs took them out to the local supermarket to purchase necessities (toothpaste, shampoo and chocolate, of course). They also had a chance to check out and familiarize themselves with the surrounding neighborhood.
Finally, at night we held our official Language Pledge ceremony. We started off with a bit more of orientation, focusing mainly on their schedule for the next three weeks and the Language Pledge. All of our students told us that they are here to learn Chinese, so we let them know about all of the advantages the Language Pledge brings for Chinese language learners. Fortunately, all of our RAs have done language programs before and were able to weigh in and tell students about their experiences with the Language Pledge. By the end of the talk, students seemed like they were all ready to take on the challenge!
The actual ceremony was a formal affair, and we mean formal – staff and students all put on their best outfits for the ceremony. We then proceeded to read the pledge aloud together in Chinese and everyone signed the Pledge together. It was quite an emotional time for everyone, students were laughing and smiling, and one of our teachers even shed some tears.
We are all looking forward to speaking only Chinese with our students from now on!