May 29th through June 9th: A group of 24 students, one teacher and four parent volunteers from Lehi High School, one of the Confucius Classrooms under the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah, travelled to Beijing and Chengdu to participate in Chinese Bridge Summer Camp, sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, to promote the study of Mandarin. All the guests enjoyed camp activities that allowed them to understand China and experience Chinese culture.
Preparing to set out
During their time in Beijing, students visited the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, watched an acrobatics performance, bargained at the Hongqiao Pearl Market, and practiced Chinese in a real-world setting. The students were also invited to Beijing Normal University to demonstrate a model American classroom. This allowed newly-recruited Confucius Institute teachers to experience the atmosphere of an American classroom before setting out to teach.
Demonstrating a model classroom - teachers watch students hold a classroom discussion
American teacher Emily demonstrates an online Chinese game
Teachers watch American students use their cell phones to play an online study game
Teachers and students divide into groups to communicate face-to-face
In Chengdu, the students studied Chinese every morning at Sichuan University’s International Student Center. In the afternoon, they experienced the culture on the streets of the city, practiced speaking with locals, and sampled local snacks. On the weekend, students visited the Leshan Buddha, the tallest stone buddha statue in the world, and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. During this time, they also attended a specially-arranged home-stay activity. Students stayed with different families in Chengdu and got to experience for themselves local life and culture.
Visiting the Sichuan University Museum
Studying Chinese painting
Trying Sichuan cuisine during the home exchange
Group photo at Sichuan University
The Lehi High School currently has more than 200 students studying Mandarin, and there is an increasing demand for Chinese culture in the community: over 2000 people attend the yearly Lehi Community Spring Festival Celebration organized by Lehi High School Confucius Classroom.
Since 2016, the Lehi High School Chinese Bridge summer campers have been assisting the new Chinese teachers training program in Beijing Normal University. This program, organized by American College Board and Hanban with the Confucius Institute Headquarters, gives classroom demonstrations that help new teachers adjust quickly to teaching in America.
You can find the original Chinese version of this article here.