Our Friends Across the Ocean
Lixue Visit to the United States
(See original article in Chinese and photos on their website)
A group from Lixue Elementary, Nanjing, visited the United States on May, 23rd, 2010. The group included 8 fifth-grade students, teacher Ma Xin, and Associate Principal Jufang Xiao. It was a 12-day visit starting at our sister school, XinXing Academy/Eisenhower Elementary, in Minnesota. After a 20-hour journey, our group was received warmly by XinXing parents at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.
Volunteer host families welcomed the Lixue visitors into their homes. Each family hosted two Lixue students or some staff members.
The next day, jet lag notwithstanding, our students rode the school bus to XinXing/Eisenhowerwith kids from their host families. Our group was first honored with a welcome ceremony at the school gym, attended by all the XinXing/Eisenhower students, staff, and Hopkins School District Superintendent, Dr. John Schultz. XinXing/Eisenhower Principle, Ms. Terri Siguenza, and Secretary Xiao exchanged gifts. XinXing/Eisenhower students performed singing, dancing, and band. Our students joined in with great enjoyment. After the welcome ceremony, we participated in music, arts, and gym classes with XinXing/Eisenhower students.
On the third day we visited Hopkins High School. Here we truly became aware of the culture diversity in America. Flags of many nations hang in the school’s lobby. Each flag commemorated graduates from a different country. We toured the school’s technology room and TV station, where students learned hands-on. In the afternoon we visited Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with the famous “Big Cherry”. What an urban oasis with its amazing sculptures and lush green house!
On the fourth day we visited the Science Museum in St. Paul. Our students delighted in the exhibits. They also tried out some experiments, including “How to Kill Germs”, and “Human DNA”. In the evening we attended a concert by local students. Different cultures, like different notes in music, attain beautiful harmony.
On our fifth and last day in Minnesota, our students joined Eisenhower fifth-graders in math and communications classes. They found the different teaching approach here very stimulating. Our students also spoke to their American peers (in English, of course!) about their home city of Nanjing and Lixue Elementary. Afterwards, they flew kites and played basketball in gym class. In the afternoon, our kids interacted with “di di mei mei” (younger brothers and sisters, since XinXing only went to 2nd grade this year) from XinXing. They sang Chinese songs and played clapping games together. Upon parting the kids also exchanged gifts. Our students had become so fond of their new friends and host families, it was hard to say good-bye.
In the latter part of our trip, we toured West Point, Harvard, and MIT. We hope this will inspire our kids to strive for the best. Our visit concluded most successfully. We hope to continue and strengthen the bond with our sister school XinXing/Eisenhower. We look forward to future communications and visits from both sides of the ocean.
Special thanks to:
• Dr. Chin Zhining, of the Hopkins School District and our alumnus, for her efforts to advance understanding in Chinese culture and traditions, and mutual understanding between the Chinese and American people.
• Dr. Rosemary Lawrence, for making our visit possible.
• All the volunteer parents, for your hospitality – you made us feel so welcome.
• Last but least, staff and students of XinXing Academy/Eisenhower Elementary, Hopkins High School, and the Hopkins School District, for all your help and wonderful friendship. Hopkins High School, and the Hopkins School District, for all your help and wonderful friendship.