1. What grade did you apply & when did you travel abroad?
Confucius Institute/Emory University trip. Applied in the spring of 10th grade and traveled that summer. (2 week trip in mid July). The only cost of this trip was the round-trip air fare. All other expenses, including a flight within the country of China, and ground transportation, food, and housing, were included. The trip was paid for by the Education Department of the Chinese Government (Hanban).
National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). Applied in the spring of 11th grade and traveled that summer (6 week trip, late June through early August). This was an all expense paid trip, funded by the U.S. State Department.
2. Where did you go?
First time to Beijing (2 days), then Henan Province, (Louyang Zhengzhao and Kaifeng).
3. Did you have to get a teacher recommendation?
The Chinese Teacher wrote a recommendation for both programs.
4. What was the application process like?
Written application for both. The NSLI-Y trip requires a copy of student's transcript, and involves an interview by the APS language department downtown.
5. What did you do while on the trip?
In Henan province we studied at a high school and did a brief home-stay. Also we visited the shaolin temple and learned kung fu and taichi amongst the pagodas in the shaolin graveyard (while the solar eclipse happened). I actually saw a picture of the exact location in a recent national geographic. On my second trip we lived and studied at a Chinese university in Beijing. We also stayed at a migrant school and taught English to the children of migrant workers, and visited an orphanage for children with a club foot and cleft palate. We spent a weekend in yurts in the white river gorge and did lots of day trekking through the mountains and along tiered fields and stumbled upon an abandoned turn-of-the-century farming village that had allegedly been burned by the Japanese. We spent another weekend at a fortified imperial village and hiked an unrestored section of the great wall. We went to karaoke clubs and played a lot of soccer with Chinese students.
6. Most memorable experience?
The abandoned village and all of the friends I met, some of whom I have seen since and some that I may end up at college with.
Andrew (Class of 2011)