By: Frank Chen
On February 1, 40 students from Si Zhong and Shou Shi Da Fu Zhong, the top middle school and high school in Beijing, visited the MSJ campus. Of all the high schools in the Bay Area, they chose MSJ because, as they put it, “Mission is the best!” L2 students acted as tour guides and led a variety of activities for the Beijing students.
The teacher from Si Zhong (the middle school), Xiao Xia You, explained that the goal of the overseas field trip was to give her students the opportunity to visit the western world. The 15-day trip included destinations such as Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Boston. During their stay in Hawaii, the students lived in the homes of the Hawaiians. You hoped that living in these Hawaiian homes would promote the students’ cultural learning as well as English practice. While the main focus of the trip was to visit universities and schools, the Beijing students also enjoyed themselves at Disneyland and Universal Studios while in Los Angeles. Xiong said that the middle school, Si Zhong, and the high school, Shou Shi Da Fu Zhong, work together to host this program every year.
L2 had many activities planned for the foreign guests. In the morning, the Beijing students were separated into smaller groups, each led by two or three L2 students who gave them a tour of MSJ campus. When asked about her first reaction to MSJ, seventh grade student Xin Kan Jia said, “MSJ is a larger, and prettier school. Everyone here is more open.” Eleventh grade student Xiao Yu Wang, who had never traveled out of China before, said, “The air is a lot cleaner at Fremont than in Beijing.” While looking at the football field and the basketball courts behind MSJ, seventh grade student Li Yuan Qi said, “The environment here is very green, and there are a lot of room…in China, the schools are multiple stories high and there is not a lot of space.” The students also had a chance to experience the classes of MSJ. After listening to some classes, eighth grade student Liu Jia Biu said, “The teachers here are very humorous, but I am intrigued by the AP program; China doesn’t offer anything similar.” From the responses of the Beijing students, it seems that the teaching styles of China and America are very different. “The classrooms here are much more involved, and less strict. We have 40 to 50 students in our classes.” seventh grade student Wang Si Ting said.
After the tours, L2 prepared something special for the Beijing students: student performances that reflected the cultures and pride of MSJ students. Baton twirlers Freshmen Andrea Brandle and Junior Melissa Brandle as well as MSJ’s a cappella group The Syncopasians awed and charmed the visitors with amazing performances. The Beijing students returned the favor by presenting a slideshow and explaining it using perfect English.
To conclude the visit, MSJ parents brought delicious American cuisine and created a potluck for the guests before they departed to continue their foreign excursion.