Twenty six Seattle-area high school students spent nearly two weeks in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province for a study abroad program. On July 16th, students were welcomed to their host school, Zhenjiang No.1 High, by the school’s principle, vice principle, and the head of Jiangsu’s department of education. The students were immersed in Chinese education and culture from their first day on campus. Every morning, they attended Chinese classes either at the high school or nearby Jiangsu University. With their Chinese high school buddies, they practiced their language skills one-on-one and were given the opportunity to spend time with host families. In the afternoons, after a hearty homemade Chinese lunch, the Seattleites toured the surrounding area, going to museums and cultural centers as well as shopping in local markets.
Tai chi quickly proved to be a favorite student activity, which they practiced on a daily basis under the direction of a local tai chi master. At the end of their two weeks, the Americans took the HSK Chinese proficiency exam before traveling to Beijing. While there, they visited the Great Wall and Temple of Heaven and showcased their tai chi skills at Hanban’s Chinese Bridge Summer Camp closing ceremonies. Thanks to the efforts and hospitality of the Jiangsu organizers and volunteer chaperones, the trip proceeded smoothly and provided a fun and educational introduction to studying in China.