For six weeks this summer, nineteen American teenagers traveled to Xi’an, China to immerse themselves in China’s language and culture. As scholarship recipients through the US Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Program, these motivated students engaged in a demanding program focused on language acquisition while also experiencing the culture of China and doing volunteer work. Students also lived with a Chinese host family for the duration of the program, which further enhanced their learning.
The program began with students arriving in Xi’an, touring the Northwest University campus where they would have their classes for the next six weeks, and meeting their host families. During the week students studied in classrooms as well as practiced their conversation skills with Peer Language Partners, who quickly became great friends.
Students on the Xi’an City Wall:
Students conversing with their Peer Language Partners:
Students practicing using chopsticks at lunch:
During their time in Xi’an, students were able to participate in many cultural outings and activities. They visited the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the Xi’an City Wall, learned about the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, and took part in a weekly Taiji class. Students also spent time volunteering at a care center for young children with autism and other disabilities by drawing, playing, and talking with the children.
Students at the Xi’an Grand Mosque:
Students practicing Taiji:
By the end of the program students had vastly improved their language skills, formed strong bonds with their host families and Peer Language Partners, and learned about a new culture!
Students learning a Chinese song during class:
A student with host siblings at a local temple:
Students visiting the Daxingshan Buddhist Temple: