Holly Ren, a senior at Enloe High School, shares her stories from her trip to China for the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition. Holly was part of the delegation for the North Carolina International Science Challenge (NCISC).
First Judging Day
The first judging day on March 25 was a little overwhelming. Walking into the gymnasium, I was taken aback by its size. It didn’t hit me until just then that we were at an international competition, but actually seeing these students from all over the world, seeing all the projects being set up, and seeing the whole competition start to come together was pretty amazing.
I felt a little stressed out during judging and definitely very exhausted. Until tomorrow where it’ll start all over again.
Today was specialty awards judging day. It was pretty noneventful so we got to see the other projects at the competition. The amount of projects, the variety of projects, and their level of caliber was simply astounding. Everywhere you’d turn, you would see ground-breaking and innovative work. My favorite was the engineering category.
Afterwards we got a tour of the campus and it made me extremely jealous of the students that go there. The scenic views here were unreal. First we got to walk on a bridge by the lake and literally be an arms’ width apart from the sparkling water. Next we got to climb a lookout tower and got to see an incredible view of all of Huairou. You could see all the way to the horizon, we could even make out some of the buildings in downtown Beijing.
It was nothing I’d ever seen. This view. The lake in the center. Traditional towers to my right. The city to my lift. And the mountains with the Great Wall running down it like a vein right behind me. All around was the perfect mixture of the past and the present, history and the contemporary. It was a once in a lifetime view and one I’ll never forget.
Public Day was definitely an awesome experience. We got to meet students and teachers from local schools and share with them our work. I was shocked by the amount of students, in primary school no less, who were not only interested in my work but were able to understand it.
Being able to share my work and my findings. Having conservations with new people and learning new things. Sharing a common passion with these people. This is what I love and this is why I do this.
After public day we had the awards ceremony and it was nothing like I’d ever seen. I’d felt like I was part of the Oscars something. During the awards ceremony, we also got to see different dance performances that showcased traditional Chinese dance. It offered us another glimpse into this fascinating culture and history. It was a satisfying end to this competition.
We spent our last big day in China the best way possible: visiting the Summer Palace, shopping at the Silk Market, eating delicious food, being in the company of great people.
The Summer Palace was so beautiful it was unreal. It really did feel like we had stepped into a different time. We even got to see the huge and towering temple where the Dalai Lama stays. There was so much beauty and artistry done to every painting on the buildings, each sculpture, each placement of plants and trees. There was a tranquility and beauty to it that can’t be compared.
The Silk Market was also a lot of fun. We put our haggling skills to the test as we bought scarves, chopsticks, and souvenirs. By the end of it I’m sure we had accumulated a valuable list of bargaining skills to bring back to the States.
Our last meal together with the adult volunteers, translators, and team mates was bittersweet. We had shared so many fantastic experiences with them and made so many unforgettable memories with them that the last thing I wanted to happen was for this trip to end.
I’ll be coming back home soon with so much more than what I came with.