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National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)

Highlights from the Summer 2017 Shanghai Program

Week 3

The third week has been a busy one for the NSLI-Y students in Shanghai. As they begin living with a host family, students commute from different parts of the city to school every morning and go home with their host sibling or host parents after class. This weekend, the students enjoyed various activities with their host family—some made food together, some went to museums and bookstores, some visited universities, and all of the students had a unique cultural experience.

In addition to the regular Chinese classes, the NSLI-Y students had two culture lessons this week: Chinese tea ceremony and water painting. During the tea ceremony, students learned about the six kinds of tea and the different tools used to prepare tea. The water painting teacher taught students how to paint on fans and helped each individual students with their fans.

The highlight of the third week was the Sino-U.S. student forum with this year’s theme of celebrating diversity with natural scenery and folk culture. NSLI-Y students and Chinese students taught each other dances from their own countries. The NSLI-Y students learned the dance movements of four ethnicities of China: Han, Uygher, Dai, and Mongol. There are 56 different ethnic groups in China, and these four represents different parts of China from east to west, and north to south.

The U.S. students also shared their culture with the Chinese students. The group sang “America the Beautiful” and each student introduced his/her home state as well as some key features of the state in Chinese.

Looking ahead, the NSLI-Y students will spend another week with host families before moving back to the dorms. The 2017 NSLI-Y program in Shanghai is already half-way completed, and the students have begun working on their final project presentations. They will present their chosen topic in Chinese at the end of the program.

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