Happy Get-Together with Local Chinese High School Students

UDNSLIY July 9, 2017

Denny Rice

One of the most rewarding experiences the UD NSLIY summer program has to offer is the ability for participants to engage with high school students (“Buddy Activities”) from the greater Xiamen area. Today we had the exciting opportunity to meet with students and administrators from the Xiamen Foreign Language School (XMFLS), a prestigious local boarding school that has a focus on teaching English, French, German, and Japanese. Our student hosts from XMFLS were gracious enough to welcome us with a guided tour of the campus.  We were shown what a traditional high school classroom at XMFLS looks like and we were also informed of the school’s Xinjiang exchange program.  In addition to the approximately 2,500 students from the greater Xiamen area, XMFLS provides scholarships to 30-40 students from Xinjiang, a rural province in the extreme Northwest of China, to study at the XMFLS.

During the summer months, the XMFLS hosts a language summer camp for local primary and middle school students who are interested in language learning and the Foreign Language School itself. To conclude our visit to the XMFLS, we were able to take part in the language summer camp’s closing ceremonies. I can speak on behalf of the whole group when I say that I was blown away by the summer camp students’ mastery of the English language. Words cannot begin to describe how impressive it was to see Chinese elementary and middle schoolers delivering well-organized speeches about their hopes and dreams in well-practiced English. In addition to the student speeches, the closing ceremony also included a student-led rendition of Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” (a.k.a. the Cup Song), various dance routines to songs ranging from Pitbull’s “We Are One” to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and performances from some of our very own UD NSLIY participants. Participants in the Xinjiang dance interest group gave us a taste of the traditional dances from the Uighur and Kazakh people of Northwest China. Advanced-level participants performed a fast-paced and energetic dance to the popular Chinese pop song “Xiao Pingguo” (“Little Apple”). While both of these group acts definitely made us proud, the individual acts stole the show. Participant Lucas Higgins wowed us all with his vocal talent in his original song “Thinking of You.” In one of the final acts of the closing ceremony, participants Victoria Zappi and Josh Weidemeier each delivered a couple of fantastic covers of famous Chinese songs before coming together for a jaw-dropping duet during “The Moon Represents My Heart,” a widely-popular song made famous by the Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng.

Today’s excursion to the Xiamen Foreign Language School furthered both our collective cultural understanding of China and our UD NSLIY mission of engaging in people-to-people diplomacy. The visit also highlighted the necessity for greater resources for foreign language education in the United States; it is plainly obvious that linguistic skill will be what facilitates national competiveness on the global stage in the future. Finally, to all of those participants who stepped up to the plate and performed today: outstanding job and continue to make us all proud.