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  -  December - February 2006

Inside this edition:

     Peking Duck - "A truly China experience"
     "A Spicy Christmas" - Dining on Dai minority food for Christmas dinner
     Chinese New Year festival!
     "A Slippery Slope" - Skiing at Beijing' Nanshan ski resort
     Student Interview: Daniel Manwaring
     Student Interview: Volker Helfrich



Peking Duck - "A truly China experience"
One World Link student writes about his experience trying "Peking Duck"

There are two things you must do when you come to China. One is climb the Great Wall, the other is eat Peking Duck. By studying at World Link, I've now achieved both these goals!

Salome and Sandra love
roast duck.
Takuro, Ryan and Jesper Patrick and friends

Possibly one of the tastiest meals I've ever had in my life, World Link hosted a Peking Duck feast at Fei Fan Hotel in Chaoyang, in February. In the West we call it Peking Duck; in Beijing they call it
"Beijing Kaoya". I'd heard of this famous dish but I was surprised to find out some interesting bits of information about duck on offer in Beijing.

For example, a special type of duck is used to create Peking Duck delicacies - it is reared in the North, exclusively for the dish. The ducks are kept in individual habitats and fed plenty of food, with little movement so that they grow fat, with barely any muscle. Hence the crispy skin – it's all that fat!
Peking Duck is served as thin slices. In fact, the average duck is sliced into a grand total of 120 pieces that diners consume wrapped in light pancakes, cucumber, and hoisin sauce. The meal at Fei Fan was incredibly rich and decadent and many of us likened it to a Sunday roast at home. It was a fantastic winter treat.

David and Aaron waiting for the Duck

The chefs carefully preparing our dishes


To add to the evening's great eats, was great entertainment. While all 60 of us enjoyed our duck we watched a young acrobatic troupe perform. It was one of the most impressive displays of human flexibility and coordination that I've ever seen in my life. By talking with our World Link guide, I learned that acrobatics has a long and illustrious history in China, dating back to 120AD. Acrobatics saw a boom with the formation of the Communist party in 1949 and has seen unprecedented growth since that date.

I felt so lucky to have had such a Chinese experience – Peking Duck, a wonderful acrobatic performance, and the chance to speak to local Chinese people while I enjoyed my food.



"A Spicy Christmas" - Dining on Dai minority food for Christmas dinner

Ten years ago, I never would have imagined that for my Christmas 2005 dinner, I'd be eating spicy mushrooms, deep-fried goat's cheese, and cold rice noodles with peanuts. But that's China for you.

Takuro and Sam chatted
with the staff.
A centuries old dance from Yunnan.

Stephanie, Iris and Aaron smile.


World Link Education organized a really special Christmas event for 60 of us at World Link. Deborah, the World Link Education coordinator, found a truly secret spot for our foreign celebration – a Dai minority restaurant in Chaoyang District. The Dai are one of China's 56 ethnic groups, 55 being minorities while the Han make up the majority. It was a real treat for us to taste something other than our daily "jia chang cai" (homestyle cooking) that one finds at most Beijing restaurants. Dai food is known for its strong flavors and excellent spices.

The tropical surroundings of the Dai people are said to have fostered a tradition of singing and dancing. I experienced that first hand when we were treated to elaborate performances of traditional dance and were even encouraged to get on stage and dance between two of the lovely performers, donned in Dai traditional costume. The two girls held out bamboo sticks and we took to dancing in between them! Although it wasn't turkey and stuffing, it was something far more memorable. It was a taste of China's little known cuisine and a very special Christmas for us all.

WLE students having their go at
Yunnan dancing on stage.

and the winner is….James





Chinese New Year festival!

To celebrate Chinese New Years, WLE students gathered with local Beijing students to take part in the welcoming of the Year of the Dog. We gathered in the Seminar Room at the Academy to learn about the origins of Spring Festival.

Throughout the week before the holiday, we began to feel the spirit of the Year of the Dog with decorations that went up through the campus. Lanterns were hung all around and the walls were posted with decorations of the character "fu" and sayings of Chinese New Year greetings. During Spring Festival, every family hangs a large charge of character of 福(fú), which means good fortune to pray for happiness in the coming year. Because in Chinese the pronunciation of 倒(dao) (upside down) and 到(dào) (arrive) are very similar, the Chinese use the character 福(fú) as a play on words. By turning the character upside down 福到了(fúdàole), it represents that good luck has arrived 福到了(fúdàole).

On the night before the end of our semester, we gathered with local Chinese in the Seminar Room to learn of the origins of Spring Festival. A holiday that is celebrated throughout China and some parts of Asia is a time for families to gather and welcome the new year and expel the old year. Celebrations last officially for 15 days, but the build up before the holiday is festive throughout the cities and countryside. Each of us received a hong bao (red envelope), which is traditionally given to children and young people filled with money. Though we didn’t receive money, there were traditional Chinese sayings inside and six lucky people won Chinese red paper cuttings which are hung on windows.

There was a demonstration from a famous calligraphy artist who told us the background of Chinese calligraphy and then painted scrolls for us to be auctioned off for charity later in the night. We also learned about the traditional Chinese New Year food of jiaozi, Chinese dumplings. Jiaozi are eaten on New Year’s Eve and the one who eats the jiaozi with a coin inside will have good fortune throughout the year. There were two expert chefs who performed by making 50 jiaozi each in one minute! We tried our best to make as many as possible, but none of us could make ours with such quality. At the end of the night, we had the chance to sample other traditional Chinese New Year foods of nian gao (rice cakes), chun juan (spring rolls), yuan xiao (sweet dumplings), hua sheng (peanuts), kui hua zi (sunflower seeds), and of course jiaozi!


Students check their New Year’s Hong Bao for prizes Iris, Dagmar, Salome, Johanna and Caroline loved the WLE Chinese New Year Party. Our Master chefs show off their skills.
Students taking part in the
Nian Gao eating competition.
Students cheer the winner of
the ticket to Qingdao

Calligraphy master
finishes his work




"A Slippery Slope" - Skiing at Beijing' Nanshan ski resort

If you've ever gone on a bike ride in Beijing you know one thing is true – Beijing is flat. So flat, that you can cycle right across the entire city without breaking a sweat. Now when World Link's staff posted a notice about a ski trip in Beijing, I was skeptical to say the least.

Skis in hand and the students are ready for the fresh snow Aaron and Anthony smile Ronnie soon learnt how to fall.

To my surprise though, this January, World Link carted 15 ski enthusiasts (including myself) to a mountain just an hour outside of Beijing, called Nanshan. It is a ski resort built up about 3 years ago to cater to China's growing adventure-seeking youth. Although the slopes were not the most challenging I'd ever been on, the trip was such a nice way to get active and enjoy the outdoors. In fact, China's obsession with skiing is growing – Northern China is home to many ski resorts, in Harbin, Beijing, and more. Even the airport will soon sport a ski slope, although that one will be an indoor, year-round facility.

We were able to rent skis and snowboards, enjoy hot cocoa at the resort cafeteria, and take in a bit of Beijing's youth culture, watching a few snowboard competitions and speaking with some of the teenagers and University students that were on Nanshan taking ski lessons. A true highlight for me was teaching World Link Education's Seven (Programs Consultant) how to ski. We were so impressed with her enthusiasm and it really made us realize how energetic China's youth is about sports and outdoor adventure. By the end of the day we were exhausted but so happy to have spent a day in "the mountains" outside of Beijing.

Brothers Aaron and David Stefan standing proud Dylan on his snowboard
Aaron, Stefan, David and Tony
try an easy run
WLE’s Seven tries skiing
for the first time.



Student Interview: Daniel Manwaring

Name: Daniel Manwaring
Country of Residence: USA
Citizenship: American
Profession: Student
Educational Background: One year left at college
Brief Work History: Investment banking internship, private equity work
Languages Spoken: English, Chinese
Hobbies: Surfing, golfing, skateboarding


Is this your first time in China?

Yes

Why did you decide to participate in the Chinese Language and China Business Program?
Because I wanted to get a better insight as to what business opportunities China has to offer.

How are you finding your studies in China?
Great, I can speak Chinese faster than I ever imagined.

Have they been what you expected them to be?
No, better than I expected

How do you like Beijing?
I love it! It’s a city filled with interested people, great culture, and even better night life.

What do you find most interesting in Beijing?
The incredible speed at which things are changing.

Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing/China?
Sleeping on the Great Wall in the middle of winter, the explosion of fireworks in Beijing during Chinese New Year after a 14 year ban on fireworks inside the city limits, biking through rice paddies in Yangshuo, Guangxi.

How has your experience in China changed you?
Culturally, I have been enlightened. As an entrepreneur, my mind has been opened to opportunities I never thought possible.

What is the thing you like best about Beijing/China?
Local people! I have developed relationships that will last a lifetime. The cheap food, drinks, and clothes are also a plus!

Will you come to China/Beijing again?
Absolutely! In fact, I’m working on ways to never leave!

What advice/tips would you give to others who plan to come and study in China?
Come here and immerse yourself in the local people. Spend as little time with 外国人 (foreigners) as possible. This will add tremendous value to your experience.



Student Interview: Volker Helfrich

Name: Volker Helfrich
Country of Residence: Germany
Citizenship: German
Profession: Media industry
Brief Work History: Theater, TV, music and media industry
Languages Spoken: German, French, English, Italian, Chinese
Hobbies: Arts, movies, traveling, music, sports


Is this your first time in China?

Yes! I have dreamed of coming to China since I was a child!

Why did you decide to participate in the Chinese Language Program?
I have always been interested in Chinese culture. Before coming I delved into China – reading books, listening to CD’s, watching movies.

How are you finding your studies in China?
I compared several different schools on the Internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to stay a longer period of time, but in the short 4 weeks I was in the Chinese Language Intensive Program at World Link Education, it was worth every Euro I spent.

Have they been what you expected them to be?
All my expectations I had of China, including the school, have been surpassed. There have been many more possibilities for me to find work here than I ever imagined. I really love living in Beijing and hope to continue my Chinese studies soon.

How do you like Beijing?
It really is great! I didn’t see enough while I was here, and will never see everything! As my focus was Chinese language, the majority of my time was spent studying. In just 4 weeks, the time was not long enough for me to discover this amazing city.

What do you find most interesting in Beijing?
The people, the atmosphere, and the Chinese mentality really made me feel like never before. I met lots of new friends at school, Chinese friends and wonderful opportunities to work here.

Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing/China?
The first week here was the most exciting of my life. I was totally amazed by the kindness of the Beijing people and the foreigners here. I was just not used to the respect and generosity shown to me.

How has your experience in China changed you?
I plan to come back to China to work. I had many offers of work here and when I am back in Germany, I will have a lot to think about and look forward to coming back to Beijing as soon as possible.

What is the thing you like best about Beijing/China?
Chinese culture, Chinese people, walking around, getting hungry and eating the best food you can find just by following your nose! (Do be sure to be aware of the cleanliness though!)

Will you come to China/Beijing again?
Yes! I hope the sooner the better!

What advice/tips would you give to others who plan to come and study in China?
Take your time to learn but also to enjoy living in China. You really need time for yourself to think about the differences we are used to in life back in our home countries. These differences really make you think about yourself. It’s best to stay longer in China, so you have time for more things. It’s a shame that I didn’t have the time to see more of this amazing city!



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2007  Oct - Nov
2007  Aug - Sep
2007  Jun - Jul
2007  Apr - May
2007  Feb - Mar
2006  Nov - Jan 07
2006  Sep - Oct
2006  Jul - Aug
2006  May - June
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2005  Dec - Feb 06
2005  Sep - Nov
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2005  Apr - Jun
2005  Feb - Mar

2004  Dec - Jan 05
2004  Aug - Sep
2004  Oct - Nov
2004  Jun - Jul
2004  Mar - May
2003  Dec - Feb 04
2003  Oct - Nov
2003  Aug - Sep
2003  Jun - Jul
2003  Apr - May
2003  Feb - Mar
2003  January
2002  December
2002  November
2002  October
2002  Aug - Sep
2002  May - Jun
2002  Jun - Jul
2002  Feb - Apr
2001  Nov - Jan 02
2001  Aug - Oct
2001  May - Jul
2001  Feb - Apr
2000  Oct - Jan 01
2000  Aug - Oct
2000  Jun - Jul
2000  Apr - May
2000  Feb - Mar
1999  Dec - Jan 00
1999  Oct - Nov
1999  Jul - Aug

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