US-China teen diplomacy : Can teens succeed where presidents have failed?

US-China teen diplomacy  : Can teens succeed where presidents have failed?

Students immersed in Chinese culture (CNN) — Anthony Box, 17, is your typical all-American boy. He spends his time studying, chilling with his school friends, and riding a unicycle. Except Anthony is living for a year in Beijing with a Chinese family. He’s part of an ambitious program organized by the “100,000 Strong Foundation” that

Watch this video

Students immersed in Chinese culture

(CNN) — Anthony Box, 17, is your typical all-American boy. He spends his time studying, chilling with his school friends, and riding a unicycle.

Except Anthony is living for a year in Beijing with a Chinese family.

He’s part of an ambitious program organized by the “100,000 Strong Foundation” that aims to strengthen often frosty U.S.-China relations, one teenager at a time.

The organization says it has already achieved its aim of having more than 100,000 U.S. students in China.

However, the numbers of American students in China are dwarfed by the 235,500 Chinese currently studying in America.

Their ranks include Shunshun Zhang, 18, who spent three years studying at a high school in Vermont.

Can Anthony and Shunshun succeed where presidents and diplomats have failed and bridge the gap between the two superpowers? Here are their stories.

Anthony Box studies in Beijing and lives with a Chinese family.

Many of my American classmates thought it was insane to leave America and go to school for a year in China. I’m interested in foreign languages and cultures and China has always piqued my interest.

The most surprising thing that I encountered here was the large number of people living, working, and moving around in Beijing.

When I ride my unicycle, hordes of people stop what they are doing just to stare in amazement. It’s also helped me realize that in Beijing the herd mentality is a very common thing.

Before arriving in China, I believed that many locals would be unwelcoming to foreigners like myself but that’s totally inaccurate. The Chinese people I meet are always friendly and willing to help.

On weekends, I go to Beijing’s numerous parks and chat with the local people. Many of the elders love to explain the history of China and talk about their childhood, which allows me to understand the richness and nuances of China’s culture.

The language barrier has been the main challenge.

Anthony Box, left, and Shunshun Zhang, right. Anthony Box, left, and Shunshun Zhang, right.

In the beginning, there were only a few topics that I could comfortably speak about with my host parents. Conversations were limited often out of fear that I would run out of words to say or I would not understand.

I’ve started to move out of my comfort zone and can speak about many different things such as Beijing’s pollution, traffic and divorce.

Living with a Chinese family has been wonderful. I wake up in the morning and eat breakfast with them. They help me understand and navigate Chinese culture. I consider and treat my host family as if they were my own family at home. And, I feel very fortunate in that that they treat me like their own son.

My school back home is larger so I’m unable to get to know every student and faculty member, but my school in China is much smaller. This also allows for the students and teachers to have a more personal relationship with each other.

Shunshun Zhang recently graduated after studying at a high school in Vermont for three years. He will attend the University of Iowa next year to study mathematics.

I have been living with Chapman family in a small Vermont village called Post Mills. My host parents are the sweetest couple and best parents I have met. Without their help, I would not have fitted into life here so fast.

My three host siblings have helped me a lot in both my academic and social life. At first, I thought it would be very hard for me to make friends among the high school students but within the first few weeks I was proved wrong. On the first day I arrived Ella, Cole (my homestay sister and brother) and Andy, one of their friends, took me to swim in a lake.

Everyone in the school is friendly and willing to help me with anything. I couldn’t believe that I used to think that the students were all mean. I made many friends through the soccer team, photography club and my classes.

I think the most shocking thing to me is the togetherness of local community and my high school. I grew up in Beijing and I never experienced country life and every family seems like a small part of a bigger family.

I also did community service with my host siblings and friends.

For example, we helped stack wood for our neighbor, and my school even has a fund raising day — every student helped raise money for children in Zimbabwe to go to school. I think the idea of sharing and unity in this community really taught me something.

china usa

I think China and the U.S. have two complete different educational systems.

Each system has its own advantages and they both fit their own country. I chose to go to an American high school because I wanted to experience more — I found the U.S. education system to be more attractive to me.

There are a lot of things that I would never have learned and experienced if I went to school in Beijing. My high school in the U.S. offers many more diverse classes compared to schools in China. I could choose any class I like such as drama and film analysis.

Students could even start a new course with a mentor. For example, I was interested in photography and I was able to do it in my high school with a professional photographer. I was also the editor of the school yearbook. I never thought that the knowledge I learned from school could be so diverse.

I felt that I became a real member of the Chapman family. We spent time together and we shared the housework. They treated me as one of their own. I am really thankful that I could have three unforgettable years in Vermont.

Please follow and like us:

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages


  • Facebook i Twitter blokirali botove u službi vlasti 20th August 2019
    Facebook i Twitter su blokirali naloge za koje smatraju da se bave dezinformisanjem javnosti. Ova vest predstavlja veliki udarac za botovsku industriju gde se svakodnevno proizvode milioni lažnih mišljenja “običnih” građana. The post Facebook i Twitter blokirali botove u službi vlasti appeared first on BIDD.
  • Saving the Planet 19th August 2019
    Skip to content Carolyn Davidson Her Majesty’s Ambassador for Guatemala Part of UK in Guatemala 19th August 2019 Guatemala City, Guatemala Saving the Planet In my last blog I talked about the power of British film and TV (and music). Today I want to make a very ambitious claim – that British TV is saving […]

RSS Diplo Portal Belgrade

  • German Ambassador: boycott not good for democracy 22nd August 2019
    AUTHOR: N1 Belgrade According to the ambassador, political debates should be held in parliament, adding that it’s important for the opposition to have the conditions to operate. He recalled the European Union progress report which said that the conditions in parliament are not good and should be changed. “The opposition has indicated that it will […]
  • Projekat „Poljske pomoći” u Vršcu 22nd August 2019
    Otpravnik poslova Republike Poljske Andžej Kinđuk izvršio je monitoring razvojnog projekta koji Ambasada realizuje u Vršcu. The post Projekat „Poljske pomoći” u Vršcu appeared first on Diplomatic portal.

Catalog of Destroyed and Desecrated Churches in Kosovo ( VIDEO )

Most Viewed Posts

  • Twitter Suspends Hamas Accounts
    By ROBERT MACKEYLast Updated, Sunday, Jan. 19 | Several Twitter accounts used by the military wing of Hamas have been suspended by the social network in recent days, angering the Islamist militants and delighting Israel’s military. #Twitter has suspended the official account of #Hamas, a terrorist group that uses social media to threaten #Israel
  • The State of Gastrodiplomacy
    By Paul Rockower It is fitting that a magazine devoted to studying innovations and trends in the field of public diplomacy has turned its focus on an increasingly popular forms of cultural diplomacy: gastrodiplomacy. Public Diplomacy Magazine’s Summer 2009 issue on Middle Powers explored the behavior of middle powers and the contours of “middlepowermanship.” Articles

How Belgrade based diplomats use Digital Diplomacy and Internet 2016

Diplo Portal Belgrade

Please follow and like us:

Scroll Up

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)