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2018 Summer China Trip

Ellen, Tiffany, and Helen went to China in the summer of 2018, delivering a lecture, visiting two rural schools, holding a conference, and exploring Chinese culture in depth.

Chengdu College Lecture

IOF would like to thank the Life of Beauty Foundation for hosting the IOF 2018 Chengdu “American Education System and University Life” lecture, which was comprised of two parts: “An Analysis of the American Education System” and “American University Life.”

To the audience of Chinese students looking to attend high school or college in America, Ellen and Helen first discussed pros, cons, and potential improvements to the American education system, comparing and contrasting information from interviews of 10 American high schoolers and teachers as well as 17 academic papers and articles.

Next, Tiffany talked about how more specifically, American university life differs from China. She had talked to Chinese college students studying in the US, and thus focused on three challenges and cultural shocks they had brought up.

Finally, the IOF officers presented the new Outlook Pals (1+1+1) Program which connects one American high school student with one Chinese high school student to together help an elementary school student in rural China. The program would help the potential international students at the Chengdu lecture understand the American culture and improve their English speaking and listening skills.

The officers on stage
The officers on stage

Visiting Rural Schools

Changyuan Elementary School

The IOF team visited Changyuan Elementary School in the outskirts of Chengdu again in 2018. Back in the summer of 2017, the team went to the school and subsequently raised money to fix the leaky roof and purchased jackets for the students. When IOF arrived at the school, they were greeted by a line of students singing in matching shirts and scarves, as well as their grandparents.

A warm welcome from the students
A warm welcome from the students

The principal and teachers welcomed IOF with speeches and presented the team with a banner of gratitude. IOF also presented awards to children who received top marks in their grade or were in need of financial aid.

Students pose with IOF while listening to introductions
Students pose with IOF while listening to introductions

The students continued their welcome by performing a dance show with a fun skit.

Changyuan students perform a welcoming dance
Changyuan students perform a welcoming dance

Next, to better bond with the students and their grandparents, the team split into 7 stations and allowed them to move freely between each one. At the VR station, an IOF member gave the students and grandparents an opportunity to use technology they might not have otherwise. The students also could build a small boat out of squares tinfoil and gradually add weight and make adjustments to test out the most buoyant designs. The IOF team also brought UV beads that turn purple under UV light and also glow in the dark, and the children made bracelets. Other stations played team-building games, like “Keep the Balloon in the Air,” “Look-and-Scream,” “Zip Zap Zop,” and “Human Knot.” The children even taught IOF their own games, such as their variations on rock, paper, scissors, and hot potato but with singing/dancing.

The team also talked to the grandparents and their “left-behind children.” The parents of these children work in the city, thus leaving them behind at home with their grandparents.

Before leaving, the IOF team gifted a microscope to the school to fuel the students’ curiosity about the world at a micro scale.

West Riverside Elementary School in Mao County

IOF was also referred to a second rural school in Mao County which had been affected by the 2008 earthquake. The trip began with an introductory speech from IYBI and a speech detailing the 1+1+1 plan from IOF. They then split off into activities like Build a Boat, VR, and group games. In the end, IOF exchanged contact information with the English teachers and gave the students a American pennies as souvenirs.

Beijing Education Conference

At the 2018 IOF 1+1+1 Charity and Education Conference, the IOF team presented their “American Education System and University Life” lecture again, emphasizing the projected Outlook Pals (1+1+1) Program. Other participants discussed their views pertaining to the future of the 1+1+1 program.

Exploring Chinese Culture

Mao County Museum

The IOF team also visited the a history museum of Mao County. Inside were pots, bowls, and weapons ranging from over 2000 years ago during the Warring States Period to the Song and Ming Dynasties. They also walked through a well-preserved castle and the king’s old palace.

Song and Ming bowls and jars, the style still not improved upon for centuries with the exception of the screw-on lid
Song and Ming bowls and jars, the style still not improved upon for centuries with the exception of the screw-on lid

The Forbidden City

In Beijing, IOF took a private tour of the Forbidden City, with a 3D video presentation and a lesson on ancient Chinese seals. Did you know that the emperor had different buildings each dedicated to his resting, dressing, and meeting? Also, there are 9,999 rooms in the whole structure, which is also the largest palace complex in the world, because 9 is a lucky number. Finally, they carved their own seals with tracing paper, rubber blocks, and scalpels and kept them souvenirs.


Ellen and Helen visited a friend’s shop that sells qipao, a traditional Chinese dress. They had tea, then learned about embroidery (there are three main methods), using one piece of fabric to minimize the number of seams, and how different, valuable fabrics are made. Then, the two tried on some of the qipao.  

Fun on the Streets

In the evening, IOF took to the streets to try the authentic, notoriously spicy food of downtown Chengdu. On the menu was sweet jelly, noodles, cream puffs, tofu, and more.

Another evening, the team visited a beautiful plaza by a lake in Beijing. Despite the time, the city was alive. On the streets were artists, performers, and people out having fun. The team saw many people playing with a Chinese feathered hacky-sack and decided to give it a try. Though they were less than proficient, it was a lot of fun.

The Art of Fermentation

At the activities hosted by the Life of Beauty Foundation, the IOF team learned the art of fermentation. They stacked tomato slices, lemon pieces, and sugar cubes in a large jar. The teacher discussed which foods are good for one’s body during which season, and the chemistry behind the fermentation.

The team is all ready to make their fermentation jars
The team is all ready to make their fermentation jars

Many thanks to Martin, Jeffrey, Kaidi, Sana, Emily, Emma, and David on the College Lecture, Rural School Activities, and Marketing Committees for working hard before the trip and making everything possible!


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