Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy Holidays from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Student blogger, Alexandra Hansen, shares the highlights from the HNC holiday season. This year students took part in a series of activities including Hanukkah celebrations, cookie decorating and Secret Santa. 

Santa came to the HNC to pass out Secret Santa gifts
The Hopkins-Nanjing Center was filled with holiday cheer this December! In order to celebrate the season, international students and Chinese students alike took part in festive activities around the HNC.

Ben Miles (MAIS ’19) kicked off Hanukkah celebrations on December 12th. That evening, he hosted a candle lighting ceremony, during which he told the story of Hanukkah and invited students to eat latkes and play dreidel. On the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, students feasted on cream-filled doughnuts (jelly-filled ones were hard to find), and watched as the last candle was lit.

Certificate student Kelsey Hamilton (’18) initiated the “5 Nights of Christmas” movie event, in which she hosted a series of Christmas films over the course of a week. Students gathered in the student lounge to watch classics including “Love Actually,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,”  “Elf,” “A Christmas Story,” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Watching and laughing at the film “Elf” with my friends was one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

In the days leading up to Christmas, the Banwei planned a cookie baking and decorating event, and a cookie and wine social. Several weeks leading up to Christmas Day they also paired students, professors and staff up for the anonymous gift exchange, Secret Santa (and one of my favorite Christmas traditions)!

On Christmas Eve school administrators set up a candlelight banquet in the cafeteria. Students, professors and staff attended and enjoyed both Chinese food (braised duck, sweet and sour pork, and stir fried vegetables) and more traditional Christmas foods (mashed potatoes, ham, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake).

At 10:30am on Christmas Day, students were pleased to see that Santa had made a visit to the HNC! Santa helped pass out gifts from the Secret Santa gift exchange! One of my favorite things about the gift exchange was seeing how excited the Chinese students were, people are still talking about it at the HNC – it was a hit! This year some of the presents included VR goggles, a beautiful lamp, chocolates, mugs and notebooks. I was delighted to receive a beautiful red and gold silk scarf from my Secret Santa! After resting and hanging out during the day, some student gathered in the student lounge Christmas evening and sang carols, rounding off the Christmas celebrations with a rendition of “Silent Night.”

Although it was my first time away from home for the holidays, I was happy to spend time with my new HNC family! I hope everyone had a cheerful and fulfilling holiday season—Happy New Year!

Written by Alexandra Hansen, Certificate '18