By Samara Shuman
When I think of Chinese students, I think of hard-working, dedicated, and talented young people. After visiting the high school today, it is safe to say this statement is true, yet there is so much more.
Xiamen Foreign Languages High School is a school the size of an American town’s college, was so welcoming to all of us NSLI-Y students. From the beautiful Confucius statue greeting us and the local students lining up to say hello, we all immediately felt excited to be their guests. After a teacher’s translated speech, we had the opportunity to each introduce our home states, showing that we truly represent the U.S. as a whole. The Chinese students also went around and introduced themselves, along with the names of schools they have been accepted into, majors, club involvements, and grades. We were thoroughly impressed with all the talent in the room, ranging from students who were moving on to renowned colleges tovstudy Norsh (Norwegian), physics and other majors, to being “masters” of debate andvmodel UN clubs.
After the introduction, we had the opportunity to mingle with the students andvmeet our new “buddies”. I met Rachel, her preferred English name, and as we touredvaround together I got the chance to learn about Chinese high school and lifestyle.Due to the fact that Chinese students begin studying English when they are six years old, it is quite fair to say their English is far beyond our Chinese, or at least mine. Today I learned it is hard to practice Chinese with someone who wants to practice their English, and we ended up succumbing to demolishing the language barrier. As we walked around the campus, I learned the students have eight classes a day (each for forty minutes). They stay up until 12:30 am and awake at 7 every morning, and share one dorm between six students.
We ended the tour in the auditorium, where groups from NSLI-Y and the local students prepared some performances. Being apart of Group 5 (the best group), we started off the show. Originally I was to play my composition on the piano while my group members interpreted danced, but the dancing part didn’t end up happening. Oh, but don’t worry, we made sure that there would be plenty of dancing. I taught my group “The Wobble”, a well known dance that I learned from my brother, to go along with “The Cha-Cha” and “Macarena”, which the other groups chose as songs to dance to. It was a blast to get the whole student body to join, American and Chinese, to drop down some funky moves.