Experiencing Week Without Walls

Week Without Walls (WWW) is a very special feature in the BCIS calendar. Each year, students from the Elementary and Secondary Schools take part in various activities and trips off campus to directly experience the culture and environment of our host country, China. Secondary School students usually embark on journeys out of Beijing at the beginning of the school year, while Elementary School students travel in April. Through these travels, they learn more about China’s traditions, history, and uniqueness.

At BCIS, we strongly believe it is essential to connect China to the world through as many aspects of school life as possible. That is why WWW is a full week dedicated to allowing our students to not only see more of our host country, but also feel it, taste it, and truly experience it in every respect. Each grade level has age-appropriate activities, such as making dumplings with locals and taking part in scavenger hunts in interesting locales, arranged for each day of the week. WWW was previously called Experience China Week (ECW), but the name was changed after the program was expanded and enriched with the aim to encourage students to truly live and breathe all things Chinese, as well as gain the ability to learn within different and diversified cultures across the world as model global citizens.

This year, the students traveled to various places, some near, some far, yet all quite exciting and interesting. Among these, one of the highlights was Grade 7 students going to QuFu and visiting the Dai Temple located at the foot of Mount Tai, as well as the Temple of Confucius. Since the philosopher holds a very important place in Chinese history, this location was specifically chosen. As someone that strongly advocated the respect for elders by their children, as well as that family should be honored and preserved, his views were very much in line with the ideals of the IB curriculum, which strives to “develop caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understand and respect.” Many of the students stated they enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, with some even mentioning that they actually felt the ghost of Confucius thanking them for their visit.

Grade 9 students went to the beautiful city of Dalian and visited the Modern History Museum, Xiaohei Mountain, and even the Russian and Japanese Prison in Lvshun. Although some children stated the latter made them “depressed and shocked,” the visit “evoked reflection and contemplation of war” due to its great significance due in China’s history. Grade 11 students, on the other hand, stayed nearby Beijing to follow an action-packed filled itinerary focusing on the school’s Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) program. They held a watermelon carving contest, had fun at a skate park, hiked up a tall mountain, and spent meaningful time volunteering at Bethel, a home for visually-impaired orphans. They also displayed the characteristics of being caring, courageous, balanced, and principled that are parts of the IB Learner Profile. One student mentioned the trip was “quite entertaining and fun” overall. Not to be outdone by the generosity of the Grade 11 students, Grade 6 students also raised money through fundraisers to buy life necessities for the children studying in the Shaolin Martial Arts School.

Throughout WWW, it is obvious the students completely embraced the BCIS mission “to be compassionate and inspired people who act for the good of all” by being challenged and empowered. The activities they took part in helped them become stronger both physically and mentally, while the volunteer services they provided helped them become better people since they were done with the intention of acting for the good of all and the sustainability of the world.

As lifelong learners, the entire BCIS community is dedicated to observing and absorbing everything around us. We know that the learning process is always continuing around us. We don’t have to be confined within four walls to gain new knowledge and skills that will serve us well throughout our lives. WWW can attest to this. It is therefore no wonder why many students are already looking forward to next year’s WWW.

Special thanks to the amazing BCIS Editorial, students, and teachers for providing invaluable information and support.

To learn more about the WWW from those that were there, please read these testimonials written by Grade 11 students Queenie and Danny.

Queenie, Class of 2018

In 2016, the aim of our G11 WWW trip was to accomplish a variety of learning outcomes for students who participated in the event. The activities the students took part in on this trip included two hours of hiking for physical benefits, spending leisure time at a skate park, and providing volunteering services for Bethel orphanage organization. Personally, I was able to develop essential life skills, as well as grow stronger through the challenges presented. I certainly overcame great physical obstacles on this trip. I believe I am very fortunate to know that I can now conquer my weaknesses. All in all, it was a memorable experience for me.

Danny, Class of 2018

I have always enjoyed the WWW trips, especially during my junior year. It was quite entertaining and I had fun. It was interesting because we had more free time and also more freedom during the activities than previous WWWs. Also, it was really nice we didn’t have to spend much time on a train or airplane. We hiked a mountain and went to a skate park that was fun. Last, but not the least, we volunteered at Bethel, a home for orphans that are visually impaired, which was great.