Learning, Listening and Lunar New Year: Highlights From the Chengdu School Exchange

The Masters School was delighted to welcome 12 students and two faculty from Chengdu School Number 7 International Division in Chengdu, China, for a successful and memorable exchange from Sunday, January 27, through Saturday, February 9.

Visiting students lived with host families, actively engaged in Harkness discussions and enjoyed trips to various destinations in the New York area. Students had the opportunity to attend classes in all three divisions (Middle School, Upper School and CITYterm), and at the conclusion of their stay, the students presented projects in which they taught fellow Masters students what they came to understand about American culture and Masters’ culture that a native might not see. Highlights included an analysis of the differences between how Chinese history is taught in their textbooks compared to how it is taught in United States textbooks, and comparisons of a lecture-based teaching method with the Harkness method. When the students return to Chengdu, they will present what they came to understand about their home culture when living abroad for two weeks.

The students and their host families also participated in many special events and activities. On Tuesday, February 5, well over 100 Masters students, faculty, exchange students from Chengdu and host families attended the School’s Lunar New Year celebration. Organized cooperatively by Dandan Zheng, Upper School Mandarin teacher; Mandarin language classes; the Dragon Club; the International Club; and the students from Chengdu, it was the largest Lunar New Year party on campus in recent years. It featured over 10 performances by both Masters students and students from Chengdu, as well as Chinese cultural activities taught by both groups. Attendees also enjoyed special dumplings to celebrate the new year.

Other highlights for the students included a visit to the Westchester Table Tennis Center for a spirited tournament, completing a scavenger hunt in Chinatown with the Mandarin 3 and Mandarin 5 classes (no English allowed!), and, of course, participating in many exciting activities with host families, including attending NBA games, indoor skydiving, cooking Chinese and American desserts, and visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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