Recap of the Round Square Conference in Shenzhen:
Students and teachers at RBIS have the chance to take part in age-appropriate local, regional and global conferences that bring them together with peers from different countries. These are occasions to share perspectives, debate topical issues, forge friendships, support local communities, and develop international understanding. Each year there will be lots of different conference opportunities on offer, and these will be advertised at our school.
In April 2019 four RBIS students accompanied by Mr De Smet, our Secondary school's Round Square representative, attended the Australasia & East Asia Regional Conference for 15-18 year olds in Shenzhen, China. This was our school's first ever international trip and we are very proud of the way Alec, Kimyi, Rathana and Gigi represented RBIS.
The Chinese school's Baraza leaders challenged our delegates to leave their comfort zones, sharing both the traditional and ultra-modern aspects of Chinese culture unique to Shenzhen. The schedule they put together showed off Ancient China, featured inspiring keynotes speakers, and highlighted one of the best aspects of China’s different regions: the food.
Our students absolutely loved the six-day experience and are encouraging all other students to take part in future events as well. They will do this in their new roles of RBIS Round Square ambassadors. Please have a look below to read more about each day...
It was an early departure, but we were all so excited to go on this Round Square trip that we didn’t mind at all. A van driver together with Mr De Smet picked us up at home and we were off to the airport. After a smooth flight with China Southern Airlines we landed in Shenzhen which is north of Hong Kong. A bus driver of the Concord College of Sino-Canada was waiting for us and we were taken to the school. We were one of the first schools to arrive so we had plenty of time to discover the campus and become friends with the students already there. Before lunch we designed Round Square bags and in the afternoon we were involved in ice breaker activities around the school. It was a great way to make new friends and that evening we got introduced to Chinese food. Each lunch and dinner session with its own theme.
On the second day in China, it was the official day of the start of the conference.
There was breakfast served at the start of the day for all teachers and students. Then, there was an official opening ceremony with a keynote speaker to introduce China and SCCSC and to welcome everyone to China, including us! The session consisted of traditional Chinese music and dances which had interested the whole audience including myself.
After the ceremony was over, it was time for everyone to go into their baraza groups to introduce themselves and as well as to make new friends within the groups and to make yourself more comfortable during the trip. We also played some activities together which I felt brought the team closer together starting from strangers to friends in the end.
We then had a Cantonese-style themed lunch.
Finally, we had to explore different Chinese traditional activities with our baraza groups, such as Kung Fu, facemask painting, Chinese lantern making, etc. I personally found it quite fun and enjoyable and it was a new experience trying different arts and crafts projects which relate to a unique culture for me.
We then ended the second day with a themed dinner, with a SCCSC student introducing the dinner theme and then it was bedtime.
On the third day in China, it was halfway through the conference trip.
There was breakfast served at the start of the day for all teachers and students. Then the students of all baraza groups were directed to participate in Culture Workshops in which I had to represent Thailand and introduce Thai food to other non-Thai participants in my ‘cuisine’ group. Afterwards, my baraza group and I played some games together and once again connecting even closer than the previous day.
Then, there was a themed lunch, but still Chinese-style. Every delegate had the chance to travel to Splendid China, a park which contains miniature or replicas of famous Chinese landmarks, such as the models of Tiananmen Square, Tibetan Buddhist temples, Terracotta Army, Cantonese-style villages and etc. As well as having the chance to watch ‘Legend of the desert horse show’ which was I believe quite fun and entertaining to watch. Then we had dinner on site with our baraza groups once again.
Just before leaving, we had watched the ‘Dragon and Phoenix show’, another Chinese themed show.
Then we returned back to SCCSC and looked forward to the activities of Day 4.
Breakfast was served at 7 in the morning. After breakfast, the school distributed packed lunch to each one of us, then we got on the bus. It was a long, but scenic bus ride.
When we arrived at our destination, I was again astonished by the picturesque environment and the unwinding atmosphere it had. We hiked along the Yang Mei Keng, the most beautiful valley in Shenzhen, accompanied by its alluring undeveloped beaches all along the way to the top. From above, the landscape is vividly delightful and breathtaking; a natural side to the advanced technological city of Shenzhen. We ate lunch on the way.
We were picked up by a trolley car and went to Dapeng Ancient Town. Despite Shen Zhen being a young city of only 40 years old, Dapeng Ancient Town is over 600 years old. We were given an hour to explore the wonders of this small, interesting ancient town. Although it wasn’t enough time for such an amazing place, I was wonderstruck by its beauty and virtue. Walking along the narrow winding streets, it gave me a feeling of how life was in Imperial China. The town was full of life and the people were really nice and friendly too.
After a long day, we returned back to SCCSC with two buses of tired but satisfied students and teachers, who had a great and memorable time together. Then, dinner was served under the theme of the ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ at 6.30pm.
Today was the last full day in Shenzhen. After breakfast, we visited Huawei headquarters - one of the leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices. Then, we also visited Tencent headquarters - an internet-based technology and cultural enterprise. Both companies were equally interesting, organised, huge and beautifully built and designed.
After lunch, the adults went back to their hotel while the students did the Amazing Race at OCT Harbour. We competed against the different barazza groups; it was a friendly and bonding activity for all of us. At the same time, we get to explore the Happy Harbour - a large retail and entertainment complex in Shenzhen.
After the Amazing Race, we returned to SCCSC for the themed dinner ‘Mid-Autumn Festival’. Like previous days, the food was splendid and new to many of us.
After dinner, there was a student party held in the Arts and Sports Centre. Everyone dressed up for the dance party. As time got closer to our departure, we became more attached to one another. It was sad to come in to realisation that the round square trip is coming to an end. We took plenty pictures and signed each other’s conference shirt as souvenirs, danced to the utmost fun and spent a momentous last night together.
Breakfast was served for students and teachers at 7:30am as always. After breakfast there was an official closing ceremony with a keynote speaker from SCCSC thanking students for their hard work and there were some hip hop dances as a farewell to all students and teachers.
After the ceremony we needed to get our luggage to go to airport, then we hugged and cried together and said goodbye to our new friends. We won’t forget any of the new friends we made during our trip. It was a really sad last day in Shenzhen, but the whole experience was so memorable.