Comments from past students, parents, and teachers
Students: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 | Parents | Teachers
Several of our students have attended sessions with impressive, obvious benefit, especially in terms of perspective, cultural emersion, and maturity. Our students returned home more self-assured, with expanded points of reference, with extended awareness of global conditions and concerns, with broader understanding of their personal directions and potentials, academically and otherwise. One boy commented to me that what he learned in the program was the equivalent of several years staying at home. Another benefit at our school is what these students have shared with peers upon their return––pictures, anecdotes, geography, descriptions of (to them) exotic foods, travels, learning. With Internet capabilities, they are sending reports to their friends even before their return. Our future will be led by students like those from your program, who have had such meaningful exposure and who have gained from it a vision informed by both the observable fact of global interdependence and the growing need for mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation.
Since the program’s inception, each of the founders has visited my school to present to our students and to discuss the program’s mission as it has evolved, allowing me to feel an integral part of its development.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Fast, USA
Byrnes Chair in the Humanities, English Department Head
Belmont Hill School, USA
When I first enrolled in the program, I was so worried. What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I found the courses boring? What if I don’t learn anything? These questions and probably a thousand more filled my mind. However, after the first few days of the program, I forgot all about these worries and enjoyed myself. Throughout the four weeks, I met so many people, made so many friends, and learnt so much. I’ll never forget the common room, eating durian, hot debates about current issues, and the laughter and tears as the programme progressed. At the end of the trip, I had contacts and friends from parts of the world upon which I’ve never set foot. I hope I have become a better person and that we can all stay in touch! I wish I could have stayed longer!
Man Yan Ma, Hong Kong
China Program 2009
Now at the Australian International School, Hong Kong
What better way to discover a country than to be there, at the heart of it all. Being part of the programme was the most valuable and worthwhile way in which I have spent a summer… feeling part of the day-to-day bustle of a vibrant city, swept off my feet by the current that flows between the new China and the old, and mesmerised by the Chinese people. The programme really thought of everything, giving us no time to get homesick, bored, or complacent. I tried my hand at Taiji, but was shown up by local pensioners; I made a fool of myself speaking mangled Mandarin to shopkeepers, and yet I have never had so much fun. I learnt more in those four weeks than I could ever have imagined.
Eve Baker, Belgium
China Program 2008
Now at Leeds University, UK
My son participated in the program in the summer of 2008, and yet today we are seeing his experiences bear fruit. He is preparing to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, an out of state location, and he is drawing on the positive experiences he had in Shanghai. He is approaching this new adventure with confidence, eagerness, and a positive attitude – all a gift from his amazing experience in China. Watching him prepare, for what many first year students find intimidating, with excitement and eagerness is a gift from this past experience. As parents, we have a fundamental responsibility to prepare and provide our children with a platform to build upon. Those four weeks in Shanghai facilitated this for our family.
If you are looking for a program to provide confidence, personal growth, diversity, international exposure, and college-preparatory guidance, then this program warrants your most serious consideration.
George J. Powell III. , USA
Father of JJ Powell, China Program 2008
Now at the University of Colorado, USA
When I first came to China to participate in the program I knew very little about Chinese history or culture and absolutely no Chinese. While there, however, I found a passion for the Chinese language and culture that I had been entirely unaware of and that has influenced all of my academic choices since. The program was set up to introduce us to as much of China as possible in a friendly and comfortable environment - no small feat when being first introduced to a place so radically different from home. As I finish my third consecutive summer in China studying Chinese language and culture, I know that I have that first four-week experience to thank.
Max Miller, USA
China Program 2007
Now at Princeton University, USA
Living in China as a rising high school junior taught me wonderful, tangible things: the process of making the world’s finest cup of green tea, how to bargain in an open-air market in Mandarin, the new urban architecture that is defining Shanghai, the many subsets of Chinese cuisine, the deft manner with which an expert of acupuncture inserts the pin-thin needle, and the important Chinese words to know to start a pickup game of soccer.
But the intangible sense of a global perspective it gave me has been most important as I think about my formative years. Not only do I feel I have begun to understand the complex blend of backward-looking tradition and forward-thinking industry that forms China today, but my experience in a culture so unlike my own opened me to reflect on what parts of my own culture I value most. Living in China looking out has allowed me to see America from the outside in.
Tully McLoughlin, USA
China Program 2006
Now at Yale University, USA
As my experiences form my perception of the world, my trip to China can only be described as life altering. There are few places in the world that offer an environment in which you are surrounded by so many intelligent people and learn from government officials, professors, and experts, whilst being immersed in a completely foreign culture with people your own age. From having a homestay, to Mandarin lessons, to visiting historical Chinese monuments, my experiences helped me gain confidence in myself, become more sociable, and adjust to living without parental guidance in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Opportunities like this are rare.
Andrew Arnold, USA
China Program 2005
Graduate of Columbia University, USA 2009
Those four weeks in Shanghai provided a community of intelligent, globally interested people, in a foreign place -- all of which I had much to learn from. Classes were engaging, not stale. I felt intimate with Shanghai mid-way through the program. Through the combination of intellectual exploration in the classes and spatial exploration in the city, I started to sense Shanghai as this living whole. What was most interesting though, was that seeing modern China in action was in just as many ways a reflection on the West as an experience of the rising East. The meetings of culture, both among the various students and between me and China, invited me to see more of what “a human is,” but equally showed me who I was. Ultimately, I will remember the smells though -- the gritty clarity of a Shanghai street will always be couched in my memory as something I ought to return to.
Gabe Eckhouse, USA
China Program 2005
Now at Deep Springs College Los Angeles, USA
Exactly four years ago I knew nothing about China. Today I am majoring in U. S. -China relations, earning my proficiency in Chinese, and returning to China for eight months next year. This is all thanks to those four weeks in Shanghai. The program’s unique combination of workshops, classes, homestays and field studies left me absolutely fascinated by the Middle Kingdom.
But I also returned to Texas with something else: confidence in my own abilities to learn and live on the other side of the world. To this day, whenever I’m in doubt, I think to myself, ‘You made it in China when you were 16. I think you can ace this mid-term. ’ This is what really makes the program a ‘must-have’ for every high-school student out there.
Quint Simon, USA
China Program 2005
Now at Georgetown University, USA
The program not only opened my eyes and broadened my mind, but also humbled me in a remarkable way. It all started off with me simply wanting to experience the third part of my culture. I’m half German, half Chinese, and I was born in South Africa. I grew up in South Africa and I had travelled to Germany many times, but there was a cultural gap when it came to my Chinese inheritance.
My friend, Nicholas Kögl, and I were the first students in the program from Africa, and the experiences we had and what we learned changed both of our lives in a most positive way. I returned home so motivated and determined that everything simply fell into place. At school I became a prefect and then head boy. I’m studying in Switzerland at one of the best universities for engineering. Nicholas is now at Harvard. And it all started with the program in China. Thank you!
I was once told that learning a new language is like renovating your house. Removing a language barrier is like creating a window that reveals a view into the world previously unavailable to you. In Shanghai, my first experience in learning Chinese, I began the creation of the window that would introduce me to a new culture. The program sparked my passion and inspired me to study the Chinese language and culture further; it inspired me to expand that initial window. At the end of my stay in Shanghai, I knew that those four weeks would not be the end of my journey.
My experience has served me well. In my application to Duke University I wrote about my experiences in Shanghai and a specific encounter with a woman who worked on campus. Now in college my coursework is centered on the Chinese language and East Asian culture. I am also an executive member of Duke East Asia Nexus (DEAN).
In September I leave for Beijing for ten months. I will be working at a middle school for migrant children, for which I received funding from a civic engagement program at my school. I will live and work with the children, teachers, and other volunteers at the school. My primary job will be to teach English, however, I will undoubtedly immerse myself in migrant culture in Beijing and learn about the mobile population that is growing in all of China's major coastal and factory cities. I think I might just learn LOTS of Chinese as well.
For me, the program opened a window to a new world, one I may not otherwise ever have learned existed.
Sarah Smith, USA
China Program 2005
Now at Duke University, USA
I attended the program in 2004 after finishing my A-levels at school. As a British-born Chinese, I had always wanted to travel to China to learn about my ancestry and explore a country so steeped in history and tradition. The program gathered like-minded students from all over the world and gave each of us an insight into Chinese life, from cuisine and calligraphy to language and travelling. I look back very fondly on my time there and am grateful for the many friends I have made through the program.
Jon Paul, USA
China Program 2004
Graduate of the University of Oxford, UK
I made friends quickly since we all lived together and visited the same places, as when everybody went out to eat xiaolongbao. They were delicious! The other highlight was the homestay. I learned about the family's customs and daily activities. They were cool because they also had a son my age with whom I made friends.
Nicholas Kwok, USA
China Program 2004
Now at Cornell University, USA
The program is fun, fascinating, rigorous, and memorable. It challenges its students in a safe and interesting way, and it rewards them with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience and understand a new culture. I know personally the program has given me the confidence to adapt to new, foreign cultures, and the skills I learned there have helped me understand and live with people all over the world. It also jump-started my deep interest in Chinese culture in particular, something I took with me to college. As I am ending my academic career, I know I will always have the inclination to better understand life abroad, and am about to take my third extended trip to China. The comfort and interest I feel for this culture I was not raised in stems clearly from my summer in Shanghai.
Keith Gordon, USA
China Program 2003
Graduate of Wesleyan University, USA 2009
Few experiences in my life have shaped my character and outlook on the world as much as going abroad to China in 2002. Seeing a rapidly developing country like China brought me the realization that a modern and exciting world exists outside of the borders of the USA. I now reside in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I am the General Manager of an international IT company. My experience in Shanghai raised my awareness of foreign cultures and piqued my interest in travel. I wholeheartedly believe that I wouldn't be living in foreign country today had I not been a part of the program.
Gabriel Hernandez, USA
China Program 2002
Now working and residing in Argentina
As a proud participant of the first class way back in 2002, the program enabled me to set foot in China for the first time ever and helped me open my eyes to a world previously foreign to me. Not only did I meet invaluable friends in the program while bridging lasting relationships with the locals, but this trip would later serve as a critical turning point in my academic and career interests. Ever since that summer (I’m old!), I developed a passion for studying Mandarin that had me returning to China every subsequent summer to study it intensively. Thanks to my fluency now, I have not only been able to travel alone in this once foreign land with confidence and ease, but I have also been able to use the language in various professional capacities. In the near future, I see myself working in, or somehow being involved with China once again.
With so much of China changing today—its economy, its political practices, its contemporary youth, its relationship with the rest of the world, and its overall determination to compete with the rest of the world—it is almost impossible to ignore this country’s influence on the international community. China’s dramatic changes in the last ten years have attracted the international attention of world leaders, scholars, students, and athletes alike. And now you, too, have the opportunity of a lifetime to experience all of the hype firsthand. If you are debating whether or not to spend your precious summer in China, I can personally affirm that the choice should be an easy one. I guarantee that you will never regret being a witness to the infinity of sights, cuisines, and cultures China offers. . . as well as the ever-so visible transformations this country is currently experiencing. Now is the time to be in China, because ten years from now I can assure that it will be an entirely different place.
Yuki Lin, USA
China Program 2002
Graduate of Pitzer College, USA 2008
Yuki Lin, Pitzer College’08: A Bridge Between Nations
When world-class athletes, foreign leaders, or business officials convene, it is often the translator who has the most difficult task. Needing to think quickly and logically, a translator serves as the bridge between nations. Only months after graduating from Pitzer College, Yuki Lin ’08 is travelling throughout China to translate for Olympic athletes and former NBA players and coaches, and in September he will head to Japan to work as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR). A true polyglot—he speaks English, Japanese and Chinese fluently—Lin has been selected for this prestigious position with the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. As a CIR his duties will include translating and interpreting for government officials. […]
From the “Pitzer Spotlight,” Pitzer College, July 2008