Dreams of White Tiles . . .


US Kids down the street

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roddy @ 9:52 pm

You don’t see many US teenagers wandering around in a Chinese school uniform tracksuit, unless you live near me. I’ve seen them around quite a bit, standing head, shoulders and fair part of torso above their classmates and taking up my favourite seat in the local coffee place.

I’d always figured they would be here on some kind of exchange program. I ran into one of their (American) teachers in a restaurant today, and it turns out I’m only half right – they are here, but not on an exchange program. Apparently for the last ten years or so a group of American private high schools has been sending a few dozen of their students to Beijing for a full school year. They get a couple of hours of language training a day, take the courses they need to progress to the next year in the US, take classes with the Chinese students where possible and live with Chinese families.

It sounds like a good program – the guy I spoke to said out of one group of 50 that were here a few years ago, 8 were now back in Beijing studying. That’s an impressive percentage. Its also the only program I know of its kind – you might get some schools doing one or two week visits, but this is a full academic year.

It’d be interesting to know how many of the first students on this program are now working in China related-fields. It’s also quite sobering to think that if every American high school had a program like this, I’d have very little chance of getting the window seat.

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