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The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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China: Hockaday Trip

THE GREAT WALL Photo provided by Breanna

The Hockaday Travel Program has been a tradition of the school since its inception in 1928 with a trip to Europe. For freshman Allie, taking a trip with the Hockaday travel program after eighth grade graduation is also a family tradition. When her time came, she chose to go to China.

During two weeks in June, eight rising freshman, sophomores and juniors travelled to Xian, Beijing and Shanghai. Director of ESOL and coordinator of the Hockaday Travel Program Elizabeth Smith and Upper School history teacher Tracy Walder chaperoned the girls.

Though visiting landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors and the Giant Panda Preserve opened the girls’ eyes to the long cultural history of China, other activities—dragon boat racing, dumpling making class and learning to bargain in the markets—proved just as important and integral to learning about the Chinese culture.

“Wherever you went [in the Silk Market], they would grab you and actually grab your shirt and pull you into the store and they would not take no for an answer,” Allie said.

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On one shopping jaunt, Allie wanted a dress, but not for the offered price of 800 yuan (about 126 US dollars).

“I eventually negotiated her down to 50 yuan (about eight US dollars),” Allie said, “and then we all got matching ones because they were really cheap.”

The families of Chinese Hockaday boarding students also helped to immerse Smith, Walder and the girls in the Chinese culture, taking them out to dinner, going shopping with them and translating for them.

“Seeing a lot of my former students in their home country and meeting their families was really neat,” Smith said, “They really made us feel welcome.”

But not all aspects of China were so welcoming, namely the smell in the cities and the lack of personal space.

On the train from Xian to Shanghai, each compartment had four beds. The eight girls divided evenly into two compartments, but Smith and Walder had “stranger roommates.”

“It was just a funny experience because one was an 80-year-old man and one was a 30-year-old guy who snored really loudly, so loudly that Mrs. Walder could hear him through the noise-cancelling headphones,” Smith said.

In Beijing, they visited the Beijing National Day School, which has an educational partnership with Hockaday. In addition to taking classes there, they saw an exchange student who had just finished her year at Hockaday and met two new exchange students who came to Hockaday this fall.

“It gave me a great insight to the Chinese education system and how I can continue to help girls from China here navigate the American system,” Smith said.

In the 84 years of its existence, Ela Hockaday’s vision for the Hockaday Travel Program, as written in Hockaday Alumnae Magazine, Fall 1946 remains relevant: for the girls to meet people of their own age in other countries and gain insight into the schools of other people.

The Hockaday Travel Program continues next year with trips to China, Argentina and Italy to foster this Miss Hockaday’s vision for a new generation of students.

-Mary Clare

India English teacher Kyle Vaughn

England English Department Chair Dr. Deborah Moreland

Russia Freshman Darcy and Juniors Anisha & Anna

Connecticut Senior Lizzie

Boston Senior Katie

Hockaday Upper School Girls

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