Bridging the Cultural Divide

Students at one local high school had the opportunity to bring their social studies lessons to life. A delegation from Beijing, China engaged in a cultural exchange with the students and staff at Metea Valley High School. They learned about life for China’s 1.3 billion people, discussing topics ranging from culture to healthcare to education.

“I really liked that we had this experience here in class,” said sophomore Jazmine Bentley. “It’s not everyday that you get to meet people from China [and] have them come in and talk to us.”

“We use China as a connection to human geography class a lot,” said Michael Stack, a Junior at Metea. “So it was just interesting to hear from Beijing officials what life in China’s like compared to the American way.”

While the delegates were able to teach Americans about their culture, they originally came to the area in an effort to learn about the American education system, using Metea as an example. The delegates hope to use the knowledge they’ve gained here to reform education back in their home country.

“We need to reform our own education system,” said Aizong Zhang of the Mentougu District Commission of Education. “We noticed here in the classroom that you’ll see a lot of the students are very active, very relaxed and that’s probably what we want do in our own classroom.”

Metea Principal Jim Schmid says conversations surrounding education help bridge the gap between the American and Chinese cultures.

“We really look at education as a common denominator between their school, our schools, and schools across the country and across the globe,” said Schmid. “The world continues to get flatter as we all know and we just thought this would be something that the students would truly appreciate.”

The delegates will be visiting Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles before returning to Beijing.


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