Twenty two students from Anderson High School travelled to China in June for an exchange trip, led by Principal Donna Houser and foreign language teachers Ms. Long, Ms. Stringfellow and Ms. Bowen.
The trip was the result of two years of collaboration with Anderson’s partner school in Changzhou, China and one of the benefits of Anderson being in the Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network, a network of 60 exemplary high school Chinese programs in the nation. The mission of the trip was for participants to fully immerse themselves in the Chinese language and culture by applying their language skills and knowledge of the culture through interaction with the local people.
“I want the trip to boost the students’ confidence in learning Chinese and for them to see the fruit of their years of hard work in learning the language,” Kelly Long, Anderson’s Chinese teacher, said.
The trip consisted of a four-day tour of Beijing and a 15-day home stay with the Chinese students at Anderson’s partner school in Changzhou, China. The students also had the opportunity to visit the nearby cities of Shanghai, Suzhou and Nanjing.
Anderson students spent part of the morning shadowing their Chinese host students and the other part with their Chinese teachers preparing for language activities. Some of these activities were authentic activities, including exchanging currency at a bank, shopping at a grocery store, reading train/bus schedules to get around, and ordering food at Chinese restaurants. The students were grouped and assigned a language task at every location. They travelled on their own in an “Amazing Race” style of competition, participating in activities that included a scavenger hunt at a Chinese garden, map-marking at the Ming Dynasty tomb, ancient secret discoveries at the Forbidden City and route planning at the Great Wall. A highlight of the trip was the opportunity for students to investigate business operations of western companies in China on their visit to the Shanghai, China branch of National Instruments, an Austin-based software company.
The trip was a great success and an incredible learning experience for those who participated.