Arcadia staff and the high school counselors attended the opening ceremony for Xi’an University International’s American Cultural Center on June 23.
On Wednesday, June 20, the educational journey for 11 local high school educators in China began, led by Tiffany L. Still, Senior Assistant Director of Enrollment Management, and Tamara Lapman, Associate Director of Enrollment Management. The educators include eight high school guidance counselors and three teachers, all participants and winners from Arcadia’s December 2011 High School Educators’ Workshop. The Office of International Affairs, in conjunction with overseas partners in China, planned a dynamic nine-day learning experience for the educators, mirroring the Arcadia University students’ Preview opportunities. (Read about the departure.)
The first full day in China began on June 22 with a warm welcome at Beijing Wuzi University. The Dean of Admissions, faculty and Chinese students from Beijing Wuzi provided an engaging and informative tour of the campus and the university’s logistics museum and presentation about the thriving academic community there. Following the tour, there was an exchange about secondary and higher education history and practices in both China and the United States.
Janice Botterbusch, a French teacher at Dallastown Area High School said, “I really enjoyed the student-teacher contact that we had there. Although it was a short visit, the dialogue was not at all superficial. I felt an immediate warmth and desire from the students for the student-teacher relationship which I think really speaks to Arcadia’s way of doing things.”
Visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Badaling section of the Great Wall allowed educators to appreciate China’s long, rich history. Proving just how small the world really is, Aaron Barkley, a guidance counselor from Valley Forge Military Academy, ran into one of his students and his family while hiking the Great Wall. In disbelief of this incredible coincidence, Barkley explained, “Valley Forge Military Academy values global citizens and that’s why I understand Arcadia’s commitment to creating global citizens that are prepared for today’s international marketplace.”
On Saturday, June 23, the educators group moved on to Xi’an, where they convened with Arcadia's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steve Michael as well as administrators, faculty and students at Xi’an International University for an Opening Ceremony at the University’s American Cultural Center. This ceremony opened the dialogue to be continued over the next few days with lectures about Chinese History, Culture and Society and the Challenge of International K-12 Education in China.
“The hospitality we’ve received from everyone here has been incredible, and the conversations we’ve had, particularly with Chinese university students, have really opened our eyes to the many differences but also the many similarities between our countries and cultures,” said Lapman.
After three days in Xi’an, Educators’ Preview continues in Qingdao with a visit to Jiaozhou No. 1 High School as well as more sightseeing.