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Students set for Chinese Immersion

The school’s first trip to China is finally off the ground with 18 girls flying to Shanghai June 2 to begin a tour that will include visiting Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou, staying with Chinese families and attending the World Expo.

The school tried to organize a trip to China twice before – in 2005 and 2006 – but ran into difficulties including the SARS outbreak and cost. Another main obstacle was level of interest, as both of those trips were offered before the school started its Mandarin program.

“It wasn’t as relevant to their experience,” said Middle School Director Robert Bryan.

However, now that the school is finishing its third year of Chinese language and cultural studies, he said it’s logical that students want to see the country up close. Sofi ’10, agreed, saying that she is excited to observe the culture and to stay with a Chinese family.

“I love the language and culture, so I really wanted to experience China firsthand,” Sofi said. “I really hope to not only practice my Chinese, but also immerse myself in the culture.”

Lea ’11 is going even though the trip conflicts with the SAT subject test in world history, which she now must take in December. She said that means she’ll have to study for the test on top of all her other school work and college applications. She won’t be able to use that test for any early college applications, but she said it’s worth the sacrifice.

“Although I’m not too excited about taking the subject test in December, it’s fine because I am so excited for this special trip, especially seeing different countries’ art, food and architecture at the World Expo,” she said.

Chinese instructor and trip chaperone Xiaoli Zhou said early June is the best time to visit because the itinerary includes visiting Chinese schools, and they won’t be in session later in the summer. Also, the weather becomes extremely hot in July, she said.

Article by Rosie and Celine