English Camp: Chopped Champions

This past weekend, Alex and I hosted a day camp at his school for some of his Form 1 (ages 12-13) students. The theme of the camp was Chopped Champions, so we taught the kids how to make homemade pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Due to time constraints, we had to cut the appetizer round (spinach dip).

We lost some kids and chaperones to a last minute date change, so it was a little hectic. Luckily, we had the assistance of another Fulbright teacher, Jess, who was hugely helpful and most importantly, appreciated the fine art of pizza/cookie making.

Here are a few pictures from the day:

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These girls asked me a ton of questions, including my favorite food. I tried explaining what a taco is, though I don’t think I did a very good job. Their favorites are Indian food, pizza and chicken chop. Chicken chop is Malaysia’s idea of Western food: a piece of chicken topped with a spicy black pepper sauce. You’ll find it on every single menu at any “Western” restaurant here.

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There was a good mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian students, which made for a linguistically interesting day. I thought teaching kids who spoke Korean in class was tough, but explaining recipes over three different languages (Bahasa Malay, Mandarin and Tamil) was an experience. Many of the kids had great English, though, and could read and understand the recipes with no trouble.

Another thing that struck me was how helpful all of the kids were in cleaning up. No one complained about having to wash dishes, and they returned the stations to exactly how they looked before they started cooking. A few of the kids even stayed an hour after camp ended to finish the dishes, sweep and put everything away. I was very impressed!

We ended the day with a treasure hunt around the school, which ended back in the kitchen with a prize of chocolate chip cookies. Overall, it was a fun day and the kids had a blast learning to make Western food. Next time, though, there will be veggies!

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2 thoughts on “English Camp: Chopped Champions

  1. A great local color post. I enjoy seeing the children and getting a feel for what they may be like and what your experiences over there are.

    Does Alex (or do you) know enough Chinese, Malay or Indian (whatever language) to communicate with them? It looks like you pizza fest was held in a home economics classroom. Nice to see the facilities available and what Alex’s classroom might be like (minus the stoves!).

    Back a few posts you were in Thailand and Burma in lands of extremely sloped and very picturesque mountain peaks. From my geology studies, that is a distinctive “karst” landscape. These are formed from extensive (deep) limestone strata that are eroded by underground streams and rivers. Eventually the land above these collapses and the distinctive peaks are the residue from between the caves. This geology is found in much of SE Asia and southern China. (Just thought you might be interested!)

    Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences and the students.

    Bob

    • I speak a couple words of Malay, but Alex knows way more than I do. He also speaks some Mandarin, but we’re both very lost when it comes to Tamil!

      We’re traveling to Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong in September, so I’ll be interested if the landscape/geology is similar to what you’ve described here. I’ve seen some pictures of Northern Vietnam and it looks a bit like where we hiked in Myanmar.

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