A Window Into Our Chinese Residential Program
This last week we were graced with the presence of new friends who made the long journey all the way from Tianjin China to Whidbey Island. The Northwest Language and Cultural Center (NWLACC) in Langley, has been working for the last five years to foster a program that brings over students from Asia to encourage cross cultural understanding. These 6 courageous children (ages 10 – 12) came with two of their Chinese teachers with three goals in mind: to learn more about American culture, different kinds of educational offerings we have here, and to improve their English. It was their first experience of playground swings, as well as homemade American food, American songs, and time in Nature. “…I breathed the fresh air in the forest which I can’t do in the place I live in China” . ” I tried many foods that I never eat before, and also the cooking methods of them”. ” The only suggestion is that I hope the program may last for a long time more than 5 days” (Kevin, teacher)
We explored South Whidbey State Park, toured Good Cheer and helped in the garden, visited Langley Farmer’s market, had a tour of the Fire Station, visited local farms and discussed sustainable farming practices, walked Double Bluff, played outdoor games, made pizza together, and participated in a daily “I learned circle”, reflecting on the day and what we had learned and experienced. While participating in all these activities we incorporated English learning. ” …I can communicate with people in English more than before” (Grace, teacher)
It was something very special to create bonds with new friends and share understanding regardless of language barriers. Witnessing the spark of gratitude or a shared moment of joy acknowledged with kind eyes and a smile without words is something very dear that both the Chinese and American children experienced. When we asked the children what their favorite experiences were they shared their visit to the animal farm, swinging, beach visits, “different education from China”, Chemistry class at Waldorf school, foodbank experience and a non-profit organization, and playtime!
The Chinese students continued on to San Francisco and Los Angeles for another week before returning home to Tianjin. We look forward to greeting another group of students from Tianjin this upcoming fall and engaging in more learning from one another!