Zihan’s Service Reflection

Over spring break, I, along with 12 upper school students and 3 faculty members, visited China. In addition to learning more about Chinese culture and the Chinese language, we had several opportunities to serve the communities that we visited. During our time in Beijing, we visited the Dandelion School, which provides education to the children of migrant workers, who can only attend the public schools in their city of birth. Because these students cannot enroll in Beijing’s public schools, the Dandelion School gives them educational opportunities that they do not otherwise have access to. The Dandelion School was founded in April 2005 and has successfully served its students since. At the Dandelion School, we facilitated various activities for the students to participate in while learning more about the school and it students. (For more information about the Dandelion School, please visit this link:¬†http://www.dandelionschool.org/_old/e_gi/e_gi_news/e_gi_news_0005.htm).

When we visited Suzhou, we participated in an Urban Issues Colloquium with the students of Suzhou No. 2 High School. We shared and discussed urban issues and learned that issues such as pollution, overpopulation, and transportation are common to both our cities. We also asked each other questions about the urban environment in which we live and brainstormed possible solutions to our respective urban issues.

During my time in China, I had the opportunity to interact with the students in all of the schools that we visited and with our tour guides and bus drivers. I was able to reconnect with my native culture through these interactions and remind myself of what it was like to live in China and of the issues, particularly urban and educational, that abound there. I believe that global travel is an important opportunity for students to experience because through global travel, my fellow community members and I were able to learn more about the culture of China, including the prevalent problems that the residents there commonly face. During this trip, I was challenged to revisit a culture with which I was once familiar and remind myself how privileged I am to live in New York, to go to Friends Seminary, and to not have to worry about many of the issues that concern Chinese residents. Furthermore, through this experience, I realized the responsibility that I have, both as a Chinese American and as a privileged citizen of the world, to make a difference in the world and try to fix the issues that I learned about in China when I grow up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *