By Tiffany Molina, Andrea Gils
The UK Confucius Institute (UKCI) hosted its fifth annual UKCI High School China Summer Trip, where 26 Kentucky high school students explored the Chinese culture in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an, China during the summer.
“It’s an invaluable opportunity for them to develop their global perspectives and outlook of China,” said Zengxiang Yang, China Partner associate director. “Students will have a great adventure on this trip and they should expect to practice their Chinese language skills, experience Chinese culture, enjoy Chinese history and heritage and learn about Chinese people’s lives.”
During the trip, students had the opportunity to visit different Chinese high schools in both the city and the countryside, allowing both U.S. and Chinese students to learn from each other and experience a different culture.
Additionally, U.S. students were able to see the wide range of education from urban schools to rural schools.
“There was so much talent in those high schools!,” said Zoe Rister, a junior at STEAM Academy in Lexington.
This plethora of talent is due in part to the Chinese school system, where students test into specific high schools and are given better opportunities depending on what they score.
Aside from being astonished by Chinese education, the students said they were greatly impressed by the variety of foods. The students said that even from city to city, the food varied greatly. They loved some foods more than others, but said it was worth a try! Julian Fischer-Lhamon, another student, said that the trip gave him “a better perspective on the world and different cultures.”
“Visiting the Great Wall of China was a big highlight for me, it was really cool!,” said student Jack Dunavant.
Aside from visiting tourist attractions and eating new food, the students had a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture.
“The trip is an outstanding opportunity for these young high school students to see another part of the world at a young age,” Yang said. “They can observe and understand contemporary Chinese society and culture, while witnessing Chinese economic development and experiencing the everyday life of a Chinese student.”
This growing program is open every summer to Kentucky high school students. For more information on the UKCI China Trip for High School students visit: http://www.uky.edu/international/UKCI/K-12_Education/High_School_China_Trip