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National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)

Highlights from the Summer 2016 Shanghai Program

Week 2

From July 2 to July 3, NSLI-Y Shanghai students had an excursion to the city of Hangzhou, where the 2016 G20 summit will be held. The excursion included activities that enabled students to learn about China’s natural scenery, traditional Buddhist temple, and modern development.

Student visited West Lake and Lingyin Temple, both of which are famous sites of the ancient Chinese capital of Hangzhou. In addition, the students visited the Headquarters of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce companies that offers B2B, B2C, and C2C sales services. At Alibaba, students received a warm welcome from the staff at Ant Financial Services Group. Ant financial was formerly Alibaba’s online payment business known as Alipay, and now it is now China’s most valuable financial technology company according to the Wall Street Journal. Ant Financial’s CEO Eric Jing, who is alum from the University of Minnesota’s EMBA program, gave a talk to the students and facilitated a short question and answer session.

Upon returning to Shanghai, students began their second week of intensive Chinese learning. In addition to classroom instructions, students conducted another street interview on the theme of Chinese pop music. Students were encouraged to sing a song together with the local Chinese people that they interviewed, as well as to ask their interviewees about their favorite Chinese singers and songs.

The cultural activities for the second week included a paper-cutting lesson and a tea ceremony demonstration. At the paper-cutting lesson, students learned to trace and cut the Chinese zodiac animals, as well as the paper-cut window grilles. At the tea ceremony demonstration, the instructor taught students different types of tea, as well as the historical development of the tea industry of China. Students learned about the importance of tea etiquette when it comes to greeting and entertain the guests in China. One of the NSLI-Y students celebrated her birthday on July 7 and all NSLI-Y students sang 'Happy Birthday' to her in Chinese.

The NSLI-Y students will move to Chinese host families on Sunday and began their two-week stay with a local family. A training session will be held on Friday July 8 for the Chinese host families about intercultural communication.


    CEO Eric Jing of Ant Financial giving a talk to NSLI-Y students

NSLI-Y group at Alibaba

NSLI-Y group at Alibaba


NSLI-Y students at Lingyin Buddhist Temple

NSLI-Y students at Lingyin Buddhist Temple of Hangzhou


NSLI-Y students in paper-cutting class

NSLI-Y students in paper-cutting class


NSLI-Y Chinese zodiac sign   

One NSLI-Y student presenting his Chinese zodiac tiger


NSLI-Y Tea Ceremony

NSLI-Y students in tea ceremony demonstration  


American Councils logo    Department of State logo

The NSLI-Y program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.