Exchange Introduces Young Students to Contrasting Cultures
Chinese students and teachers from three different schools in China spent a week at Gould Academy in October. The teachers and students were from the schools Gould Academy ninth graders have previously visited, as part of the Gould Academy Four Point program.
Lora, 14, from the Xi’an Foreign Language School in Xi’an, China, found the environmental differences between Bethel, ME and a huge city like Xian striking. She also stressed the idea of Gould having bigger classrooms, with small class sizes compared to her school in Xi’an.
“The trees here are so beautiful. The air is so fresh. Also you can play soccer, and sports and I cannot at my school,” she said. “Also each class has fewer students than our school, which I think is good and different from our school. Also the classrooms are bigger than ours.”
Jess, 18, also from Xi’an Foreign Language school, said she loved going to the beach and going shopping. Like Lora, she was also impressed by the big classroom sizes and the small amount of students in each class.
“The school is very big here, and very beautiful. The classrooms are very big with (fewer) students, which is very different than our school,” she said.
The Chinese students had homestays with Gould Academy faculty and students. One of those students, Aiden Clarke ‘15, of Bethel, hosted Chinese student, Louis,16, from the Xi’an Foreign Language School.
“During my time with my Chinese student, we went apple picking, made s’mores, he came to my classes and we went to Sunday River for the Harvest Fest,” said Clarke. While riding up the Chondola we started talking about the differences between life in Xi’an compared to life in Bethel. We discussed academics, and how different our classes are. The classes I’m currently taking, as a sophomore, were similar to ones he took in middle school. He was also insanely surprised that boy and girl students could hang out in school spaces such as dorms together. This made me think of my experience in China. It was surprising to see how the importance of sports differ between our cultures.”