BFA Fairfax Students Share their Chinese Cultural Exchange Camp with Congress!

Target 2 Leadership in a Student Centered Learning Environment. FWSU will foster development of teacher and student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.

Action Step  Provide multiple avenues for students and staff to lead, advocate, and serve within the school and community.

Indicator  Student voice will have the power to impact the perception of others.

The week before Thanksgiving Break, four BFA Fairfax High School Students traveled to Senator Bernie Sander’s office in Burlington to meet with the Senator’s staffers and Spiral International representatives to share their experiences as Student Ambassadors for the BFA Fairfax Chinese Cultural Exchange Program.

BFA China Camp Pic

BFA Chinese Cultural Exchange Camp 2013

For the past three years, BFA Fairfax has hosted over 30 Chinese Students and 2-3 Chinese teachers. The students and teachers stay with American host families, attend classes focused on Conversational English and American Cultural in the mornings, and take Field Trips to experience area cultural interests in the afternoons.

One of our Student Ambassadors offered several blog posts about their experiences this summer!

The Ambassadors shared the following thoughts about the Exchange Camp with the Senator’s staffers:

“The best part of the Summer Exchange program is having the opportunity to make new friends, and teach them about my country while learning about theirs. I love the bonds that I form with these students, and having the ability to shape their trip to the United States into something they’ll remember forever.” — Victoria Brown

“The best part of the summer exchange program was making new friends and getting to know what their personalities were like.  I enjoyed teaching them about our culture and seeing their reactions to what we might take for granted.  It was also interesting to learn about their culture as well.”  –Ashley Williams

“What did I learn by being an ambassador? In school we don’t get to learn about the lifestyles of kids our age around the world – let alone China. We really only learn about education or government and history and compare it to our own. Because of this, we can’t really help but make up stereotypes about other people and how they live their lives. Being able to meet and spend time with the Chinese students erased any preconceived ideas I had about them. It opened my eyes to how similar everyone in the world is even though we live in places with such different living conditions.” –Faith Sampson

“I learned a great deal of leadership as an Ambassador. I learned the most about their life at school. They are very passionate about their school work and they go to school for much longer than we do. I could see that they were amazed by the littlest of things. It was such a great experience.”  — Asa Hoover

BFA China Camp Ambassadors

BFA China Camp Ambassadors

The importance of the opportunity for students to share experiences with the Senator’s Office, is best summed up by Victoria and Ashley:

“I saw this opportunity as a once in a life time sort of chance.”

“This experience was really valuable. It brought me out of comfort zone to talk to people who would help shape our government. I enjoyed being able to share my experience with someone who didn’t really know much about it. We were able to show that a little place like Fairfax is involved in a program that could ultimately make advances in exchange programs, and cultural interaction.” 

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