On July 15, 2012, a group of 22 high school students from the Tidewater area and other parts of the country traveled to Jilin, China to attend the “Chinese Bridge Summer Camp” sponsored by Hanban, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, and co-organized by the William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI). Traveling with them are two chaperones, teachers from Grafton High School in Yorktown.
The student group, which includes 17 students from Virginia, four students from Texas and one from Ohio, spent nine days in the Chinese city of Jilin and are in Beijing for a further four days of Chinese language learning classes and cultural activities.
Ma Lei, Chinese Director of WMCI, sees the camp as a key component of the WMCI’s outreach program. “Although WMCI is only three months old, it plays an important role in the promotion of Chinese language and culture in Williamsburg and neighboring communities.”
Molly Brueger, a participant of the summer camp, composed the poem Lotus Flower while at Jilin #1 High School. It includes the lines “Our experience in China grows and blossoms/Within us/Everywhere we go we will spread our/Seeds of knowledge/Just as the lotus leaves its seeds for/Future generations to grow upon.”
“I am very happy that we are able to assist Hanban in organizing this program this summer,” said Yanfang Tang, director of the William & Mary Confucius Institute. “There is a strong curiosity about China from high school students in the local communities. Nothing is more exciting and rewarding than going to China and being introduced to Chinese culture through on-site experiences. We hope to help organize this trip again next year and for many years to come!”