Students in the Chinese program traveled to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. to represent Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of student exchanges between China and the U.S. The event, which 30 Jefferson students attended on Nov. 21, was organized by the Chinese Embassy in cooperation with The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
Student participation was voluntary but many students were eager to sign up for this event. The thirty slots filled up within a day.
“The Embassy event sounds really exciting, and it seems like a really good opportunity to learn more about international. Being invited to this type of event is a once in a lifetime opportunity, ” sophomore Isabel Gan said.
On the day of the Chinese Embassy visit, all the students left Jefferson together and arrived by car at the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station at 11:30 a.m. The students then boarded the Metro and rode to Van Ness-UDC Station, where they walked for 10 minutes to the Chinese Embassy building.
“Our main concern and biggest challenge orchestrating this trip was safety while riding the Metro. We had to make sure everyone was kept together in a group and that we hadn’t left anyone behind. I’m very grateful for the chaperones who came with us because we definitely couldn’t have pulled it off without them,” Chinese teacher Ms. Mian Chen said.
The celebration included a half-day seminar highlighting the value and impact of U.S.-China student exchanges, current exchange opportunities, language learning, professional development and alumni networking. A dinner reception immediately followed the seminar.
Minister Counsellor Ms. Yang Xinyu began the program by introducing the student exchange network and its impact on diplomatic relations, followed by a panel of exchange alumni who recounted their experiences abroad.
“We truly believe that the Chinese and United States student exchanges in the past 40 years have changed many people’s lives, and have made great contributions to Chinese – U.S. relations. China remains the number one country of origin for international students in the United States with almost three-hundred seventy thousand students accounting for one third of international students in the United States,” Yang said.
Along with exposing Jefferson students to diplomatic events such as this one, Chinese teachers Ms. Qin Xu and Chen hope that there may be students who are now interested in studying abroad in China. They are also planning a field trip to tour the Chinese Embassy building for Chinese New Year.
“I thought the whole experience was really fun and I’m really happy to hear that we might be having another field trip later this school year. It’s also really cool to see how this field trip has inspired a lot of student interest in a trip abroad to China in 2020,” sophomore Elaine Li said.