2016 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for Florida High School Students
July 30, 2016
The USF Confucius Institute (CI) continues its support in organizing Florida high school students for study trips to China. With support from the Hanban and Qingdao University, the CI sponsored 15 students for a total immersion experience in Chinese language and culture from June 27 to July 12. The students and their parents are very excited about the opportunity and happy with the experience.
The 15 students came from schools in Tampa Bay area, Orlando and Boca Raton. They were led by two experienced chaperones (Mrs. Hongxia Zhang and Mr. John Winchester) to three Chinese cities: Beijing, Qingdao and Qufu. (This is the third time Mrs. Zhang has helped USF to lead summer camps to China.)
After touring Beijing’s historical sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City (Palace Museum), and tasting the authentic Peking duck, they took the fast train to Qingdao for a week-long learning experience organized by the College of International Education of Qingdao University. The experience includes morning class sessions on practical Chinese conversations and practice in the afternoon at such places as shopping markets, a retirement center, traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, and an after school program. The most unforgettable events include visits to local families and the Laoshan #2 High School, where they built friendship with the local and their peers through sharing home-style food, cultural performance and intimate conversations. Many people at Qingdao University contributed to the learning experience of the students, but the single teacher who made significant contributions is Yanfeng Wang (who had worked at USF-CI). Then, they went to Qufu to see the Confucius Temple and Tomb. The short visit at Qufu helped them to gain a better understanding of the Confucius philosophy and its influence on the Chinese society.
According to feedback from students and chaperones, the biggest benefits of the study trip include a better understanding of China and making Chinese friends. It is expected that their experience will not only help with their learning of Chinese language and culture, but also help with the Chinese programs at their schools. The purpose for organizing such trips is to increase the understanding of China and improve American-Chinese friendship. That has succeeded.
In addition to the Hanban grant to cover the cost of everyone in China, six students from Thurgood Marshall Middle School also received a significant travel grant from Mr. Peter Sontag of the Fast Lane Travel to off-set their international airfare. The USF-CI thanks everyone for their support and is looking forward to another study trip to China next year.