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National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)

Highlights from the Summer 2017 Shanghai Program

Week 4

Greetings from Shanghai where we are all back at the Jing'an Education Exchange center, the program site. Prior to today, NSLI-Y students spent another busy week in Shanghai with their host families, while they kept progressing with their Chinese language studies and culture learning.

Most students have identified a topic for their final projects, which they will work on during the remainder of the program. The final project topic is a free choice for students, based on their interests and experiences in Shanghai. Students will continue working on their written (by making a poster) and oral presentation of the final project with the help of their Chinese instructors, tutors, and host family members.

The culture topic of this week is literature and education. NSLI-Y students visited two places: a Confucius Temple/Ancient Academy on Chongming Island on the outskirts of Shanghai and the museum of Lu Xun, a famous modern Chinese writer who spent a significant portion of his professional life in Shanghai. Lu Xun’s work is a must read for all Chinese students in their middle and high school textbooks. Students had watched a video about Lu Xun during their pre-program language preparation and through visiting the museum, students obtained a better understanding of Lu Xun and his impact on the modern history of China. After the museum, the students visited a near-by culture street called Duolun Rd.

The Confucius Temple is the best-preserved ancient Chinese academy of Shanghai and it was built more than 600 years ago. The NSLI-Y students were provided traditional Chinese clothes (clothes of Han group, the largest ethnic group of China) and led to read a poem “Ascending Guanque Tower” the traditional way. They also learned the life of Confucius and his educational thoughts.

Students completed their first community service on Friday. They went to a summer camp for elementary students and taught the students English songs. In return, they learned some Chinese and Shanghainese rhymes from the elementary students. It was a fun afternoon.

The NSLI-Y students bid their farewell to host families on Sunday. They all gathered and exchanged gratitude and fun moments with their host families. At the party, all NSLI-Y students and selected host family representatives shared their host family experiences in Chinese. Some students also performed songs and dances with their host families. The students have moved back to the dorm at the Jing’an Center and will spend the last two weeks there.

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