Bibb Students Travel to China Over the Summer | Arts & Culture
Two Bibb County students traveled to China during the summer. The students who went were Howard High School’s Amanda Rowan and Central High School’s Grace Martin.
Amanda and Grace joined the Confucius Institute through Wesleyan College in order to make this trip possible. For a total of 16 days they attended classes with Chinese students learning Chinese history, language and culture. The two students were taught the ways of Confucianism, which focuses on ethics and education, stressing harmony in conduct, honoring parents and love for humanity. They were also assigned to stay with Chinese families. With the families they gained a better understanding of the Chinese culture and daily practices, and enjoyed native dishes.
Amanda Rowan, a 15-year-old sophomore, wanted to join the Confucius Institute due to her love of traveling, meeting new people, trying new food and learning. Amanda was impressed by the way the Chinese students learn. She said the lack of diversity is the feature she found to be the most different between America and China.
Her favorite part of her trip was making new friends. She said although there was a language barrier, she made many close friends.
"If you are nice to other people, then they are most likely to be nice to you," she said. "And even if they are not nice, you should still be nice to them because it is probably what they need. So I have come back with a greater understanding of wanting to be like that Chinese community, who so easily welcomed in American students although they have been told Americans have guns. They were so nice and welcoming and I just want to be that way.”
Grace Martin, a 16-year-old junior, wanted to have more than an ordinary summer and thought the idea of traveling to China would be a fun experience. Not only did she learn basic Chinese and participate in classes alongside Chinese students, she walked the Great Wall of China, visited street markets, and visited temples.
While staying in the home of her host family, she learned a lot about daily practices and Chinese religion. She was impressed by the amount of English the Chinese students knew at such a young age and said this was the aspect she found most different when compared to America, where students typically do not learn other languages until they are older.
Her favorite part of her trip included the food and the friends she made, both Chinese and American. The custom Grace said she brought back from China was the value of respect in the home.
- Emily Brunner