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CPS students spent four weeks in China over the summer

Twenty-four CPS high school students traveled to China this summer. They attended a four-week intensive Chinese immersion program at the Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic (WXP), a trade college in Hangzhou, China. The program is part of the President Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative and is funded by the generous support from the Wanxiang American Corp in Chicago and the Wanxiang Group in Hangzhou.

This is the fifth year that Wanxiang supported the program.

In addition to learn Chinese, the students also participated in many cultural seminars & activities, including topics on China’s culture and history, the teachings of Confucius, Laozi and Sunzi, tea ceremony, Chinese culinary art, paper-cutting, calligraphy, Chinese martial arts, dough sculpture making, bamboo basket weaving, and wood-block printing. They even learned how to make Chinese dumplings.

Another area of their studies is clean energy.  They had seminars on China’s plan and recent development in clean energy, technology and application of natural gas, solar energy, electric vehicle and visited clean energy facilities.

They also attended seminars on China’s international policy and relationship with the U.S., China’s economic reform and the 18th Congress and China’s social development and anti-poverty efforts. While in Hangzhou, they also visited a nursing home and performed for the elders there.

The fun part of the trip included tours to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. They also had opportunities to interact with many young people in China and established friendship with them.

Below is a selection of statements from students who attended the program:

Annie from Payton College Prep. HS:

Before going to China, I wasn’t really sure if I should really continue to study Chinese in college because it’s a really difficult class, but afterwards, I knew that I really wanted to… this trip allowed me to see how useful Chinese is and how much of an impact the language as a whole could affect one’s life.

Kyra from Whitney Young Magnet HS:

My time in China has been a very fun and also a very educational trip. I have grown as a person and also improved my Chinese language skills. I honestly believe that the things I have learned about myself on this trip, will stick with me throughout my entire life and shape my future.                  

Andrea from Northside College Prep. HS:

I am incredibly grateful that I was able to sit through the seminars on solar energy, electric vehicles, and geothermal energy. I have a wide range of interests which made it difficult for me to narrow a topic down as a college major, but after learning about green energy in this way and getting to see it first hand, I feel as if it’s something I want to pursue further, and something I will be able to make an impact by doing.

Nicholas from Northside College Prep. HS:

The CPS CSLCTI program in Hangzhou has irrevocably shifted my world view.  I learned about my culture’s language, history, and people, met countless new friends halfway around the world, and witnessed numerous breathtaking sights thousands of years old. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity, and will do everything I can to make this world a better place.

Maya from Lane Tech HS:

Throughout this trip I have discovered so many things about Chinese language and culture that are sure to benefit me in the future. This new knowledge I have obtained will help to change the way I think about cultures by allowing me to more easily connect with a culture. My new skills will also help to have a better understanding of a culture's differentiating point of view. When returning home I can more easily combat racism with my new understanding of the culture.

Jonathan from Lindblom Math/Science Academy:

This trip has made me an overall better person. With the mind opening experience of having hand on experience with both the Chinese language and culture, my perception of the world has changed immensely.  

The amazing opportunity that Wanxiang has given me is priceless. The friends that I have made in both China and in the U.S will never be forgotten, and for that I am extremely grateful.