For the fifth time since the exchange program between The Bolles School and China’s Qingdao Tourist School was established in 2009, a group of Bolles students traveled to Qingdao for several weeks of summer study and cultural engagement.
“Over the course of the trip, students not only improved their Chinese speaking and listening skills, but more importantly, their understanding of Chinese people and culture—ultimately helping them to see the world from different perspectives,” said Bolles Chinese language teacher Cheng-Me Rothschild, who chaperoned the trip with Bolles world language colleague Ying Li.
The two teachers and 15 Bolles students returned to Jacksonville in late June.
The student group included: Elexis Bishop ’18, Julia Butler ’19, Reza Chahlavi ’19, Anna Csikai ’19, Amelia Emas ’20, Grayson Eng ’18, Brian Fagan Jr. ’19, Alexander Hastings ’19, Stanley Lin ’19, Stefan Mostovych ’19, Hayden Norris ’19, Justin O’Leary ’20, Brandon O’Leary ’18, Pearson Toomey ’19 and Luke Piatt ’19. During their stay at the Qingdao Tourist School,
Bolles students lived in a dormitory.
Rothschild said the exchange program consists of two parts: learning and fun. For the first 10 days, students attended classes designed by the Qingdao School from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Classes included lessons in Chinese language, geography, history, traditional customs and festivals and were conducted in Chinese by the Qingdao School faculty. During the final 10 days of the trip, students traveled to cities across China, including Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai, to experience Chinese culture firsthand.
In several cities, Rothschild said, the student group connected with Bolles alumni living in the area, giving vitality to the program. One of the highlights of the trip was a meeting with Stephen Schroeder in Shanghai. Schroeder, one of Rothschild’s former students who participated twice in the Bolles China trip, works as the global processing improvement manager for real estate firm Cortland Partners’ Shanghai branch. He talked to the students about working overseas and how his interest in Chinese language and culture evolved into a successful business career.
“Schroeder gave the current Bolles students great advice for their future,” wrote student Julia Butler, who managed a travel blog for the group.
As part of the exchange program, students from the Qingdao Tourist School will travel to Jacksonville in February to experience school, culture and travel opportunities in Florida.