Exploring Los Angeles

Written by the DVGS Editorial Team and Hillary Tran (Class of 2023)
Photos and Film by Erica Lai (Class of 2024), Shine Yuan (Class of 2024), and Hillary Tran
Video by Hillary Tran

On the evening of September 29th, a group of DVGS students set off on a plane to Los Angeles for a weekend of academic, artistic, and musical exploration. After a safe landing and refreshing dinner, the students made their way to the house of Mrs. Helen Woo, long-time disciple of Venerable Master Hua and a pioneer of Western Buddhism, where they would be staying for the duration of the trip.

The next morning, the girls visited the Claremont Colleges, where they met up with Jaimie Yu, a DVGS alumna from the Class of 2022. As they toured Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College, they were amazed by the vibrancy and unique cultures of the campuses, from diverse food options and stunning architecture to symbolic initiations and lively student traditions.

The final college destination was the California Institute of Technology. Guided by Dr. Hou, professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics, the students learned about Caltech’s history and innovations.

Having completed the college portion of their trip, the girls were ready for a day of artistic exploration. At the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, they immersed themselves in the world of exotic plants and cultural art. The diversity of plant life in the themed gardens, which ranged from desert landscapes to lush Japanese gardens, brought wonder and fascination.

In the evening came the highly anticipated Los Angeles Philharmonic concert. With a four-piece program centered around Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp and “Serenata notturna,” the concert highlighted the masterful musicians and the sublimity of the pieces.

After two days of engaging exploration, the trip came to an end. The girls left Los Angeles not only with their luggages but also with new stories and experiences they were sure to remember.

Moreover, they were grateful for the mentors and teachers they met during the trip— from their hospitable host, Mrs. Woo, they learned to take initiative and use their abilities for good; from their mentor and Mrs. Woo’s friend Dr. Chang, they learned to be generous and open to learning; and from their guide Dr. Hou, they learned to be balanced and live in moderation.

Special thanks to Ms. Helen Woo, Dr. Chang, Dr. Hou, Ms. Wu, Mr. Ngo, Mrs. Ngo, Ms. Angela, and Jaimie Yu for taking care and supporting the girls in their exploration of Los Angeles! The trip wouldn’t have been the amazing experience it was without them.