BHS senior returns from ‘Awesome’ experience in China

Maya Rioux

Kunming, Dali, Weishan, Shanghai, Beijing. Usually these names can only be found at Bearden in a World History class. But for senior Kat Moore, these places became a new way of life from July 29 through Aug. 21 as she traversed Southeastern China. Moore traveled to China to teach English as well as learn a bit of Chinese. She passed through Beijing and Shanghai, and stayed in an apartment in Kunming. Dali essentially resembled a Chinese Gatlinburg, while her time in Weishan was spiced up through limited hand signal communication with her host family. “Have you ever heard that term – life-changing trip?” Moore said. “This wasn’t it; it was a life-affirming trip.” She accomplished all this through the Minds Abroad program and the Awesome Adam Adventures Scholarship, worth $1,000. This scholarship was established in memory of Adam Wise, a class of 2011 Bearden student who died after a car wreck the summer before his senior year. “You didn’t have to know him,” Moore said. “I mean you could tell how much he really loved life.” By traveling to the country she has had an almost legendary obsession for, Moore was able to focus on her dreams of becoming an English teacher in China. As part of the Minds Abroad program, Moore was taught Chinese in the mornings; then in an afternoon session, called NGO, she would meet up with two little girls from the Kunming area and teach them basic English. Before leaving, Moore was able to cover topics like action verbs with her students. In China, taking an English class is about as interesting as taking a lecture class on French or Spanish; so just as BHS foreign language teachers endeavor to make the learning a fun experience, Moore tried to get her girls interested while successfully covering the complexities of English. “I would be happy doing this for the rest of my life,” she said. After realizing her dreams, Moore is beginning to encourage all of her peers to just travel abroad (or even nationally) to learn as much as possible about other cultures, along with keeping the tradition of honoring Adam Wise by getting Bearden students to go on their own awesome adventures. Some adventures may even take the student to a destination he/she never expected, such as the Asian phenomenon of high class karaoke, with a private room for every party and complimentary food and drinks served by waiters in tux jackets. Or as mentioned above, Moore’s experience with a host family that spoke no English. “I’m very good at charades, and my skills only got better,” Moore said. Perhaps Bearden’s newest world traveler could pop into one of the world history classes to show off her new Chinese conversational skills and dumpling making abilities. Of course, only if she makes enough for everyone.