Photo by Andrés Oyaga
The SPHS Chinese department announced its first organized trip to China in partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Education and held an informational meeting for those interested on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The program, titled “The Dragon Tour,” will fly students into the Chinese province of Jiangsu to explore the cities and interact with Chinese students during the week of spring break, Mar. 29 to Apr. 7, 2019.
Trip committee members in the SPHS Chinese Department and South Pasadena Chinese-American Club (SPCC) introduced the plans for the tour, which will be hosted by the Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange (JESIE). Representatives of JESIE attended the meeting to talk about the accommodations that will be given to students who attend, as well as to introduce the program and give a first-hand perspective of what the students will experience on a day to day basis.
Students will discover the cultures and monuments of the Jiangsu province north of Shanghai while living in the homes of Chinese families and the dorms of Chinese students. The tour will include cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Nantong. Students will also attend cultural courses alongside local Chinese high school students, with classes ranging from Chinese painting to martial arts. Additionally, visitors will tour Nanjing University to experience the differences between education in America and China.
SPUSD School Board president and trip committee member Jon Primuth, a former resident of China and non-native Mandarin speaker, highlighted the unique opportunity of getting a first hand experience of interacting with the Chinese culture. The SPHS Chinese department hopes that the program will give students a newfound appreciation for Chinese culture and aid students who attend the trip in their classes back home.
“Students will be immersed in not only the language, but the culture,” SPHS Chinese language teacher and program coordinator Melissa Cheng said. “They will be able to apply the knowledge they have learned and acquire more knowledge that will help them in the classroom.”
The trip’s sponsor, SPCC, and its student club hope to fundraise during Homecoming Picnic in order to cut the total estimated $980 cost for parents, as well as to fund faster transportation during the tour. Registration is prioritized for students taking Chinese, but is open to all students regardless of their language learning program at SPHS. The interest for registration form on the SPCC website will close on Oct. 9 at 10 p.m.