Whether you partake in the Internship Program or attend Chinese classes, Hutong School organizes cultural activities 3 to 4 times per week for all its students and their friends. Those moments are perfect for relaxing, having some fun, getting deeper into the Chinese culture and also spend some time with the Hutong School community. By attending them, the students familiarize themselves with art, food and traditions to get a better overview of what makes this culture different from the others. The range of activities is really wide, from learning how to play board games like Mahjong or Weiqi to cooking lessons.
Making Zongzi – (Bāo zòngzi 包粽子)
As you might know this year’s Dragon Boat Festival occurred on Saturday June 23rd. To celebrate it, Hutong School recently organized an activity about learning how to make the traditional Zongzi (a pyramid-holding dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves) which are served to welcome the ancient festival.
We all gathered around the table and listened to the cook’s explanation. I can tell you, making Zongzi is way more difficult than it looks like! It would have been impossible without the help of the cook and the cheering atmosphere. Everyone was a bit frustrated at first, trying really hard to make the rice fit into the leaves, but by seeing everybody’s struggle, frustration ended in laughter!After several attempts, we all improved our skills and made “almost perfect” Zongzi. We had to wait till the day after thought before we could eat them, since it requires at least 5 hours to cook them! This activity was a perfect mix of fun and deep concentration for being able to make a correct Zongzi.
Chinese Knotting – (Zhōngguó jié 中国结)
Hutong School also organized a Chinese Knotting activity, using the talents of a real Chinese folk art teacher to introduce this handicraft to the students. Being able to create an authentic decorative knot is not that simple but it is really interesting. The knots are used to create a good atmosphere, bringing longevity, harmony, health and good luck. As a gift, those knots gain a sentimental aspect, often used as a souvenir between friends and even lovers. Knotting turns out to be a lot of fun. When the teacher was showing us the different steps to make a knot, it became immediately very clear to us that it will take some time to master the technique. However, practice makes perfect! At the end of the session, everybody was able to take home a complete Chinese handicraft.
Hutong School also organizes lectures focused on the cultural differences and particularities in China. We already had great explanations about the Chinese financial and communication system; lectures on great company development such as Microsoft or NGO projects. The school recently proposed lectures about the Chinese architecture, its style, the differences between regions, materials and the importance of Feng Shui (风水). It was also possible to go for another Chinese business lecture, this time about negotiation, etiquette and conflicts in communication.