By Olivia and Cole Jessee
Wasatch Academy had the opportunity to host students from Chengdu China in Mt. Pleasant this January. They attended classes with us, visited some of Utah’s national parks, went sledding for the first time, and we even got to watch a Utah Jazz game together! Then as part of the exchange, we along with 5 of our classmates got to visit these same students at their school over spring break. These students study at Shishi High School, which is the oldest public school in the world. Over 2000 years of history right there in Chengdu China. Our two schools have a partnership where they study Wasatch Academy classes and can earn both our diploma and a Shishi diploma. Our experience visiting them in their hometown was awesome! The food was amazing, their city is big and beautiful with lots of neon lights, we stayed in their homes which was fun, and we traveled in planes, taxis, subways, and trains. Very crowded but a cool experience. We spent four days at their school taking classes like Tai-Chi, Chinese calligraphy, and we even got to do presentations about our lives in America. It was interesting to see the differences between our two schools. They stay in the same classroom all day and start very early and end very late.
They are very hard working. It really was a fun experience, we made lots of friends and we learned a lot. We even got to practice our Chinese.
Then before we returned home we got to visit Beijing for a few days. This was also an amazing experience. We visited another Wasatch Academy partner school called BNDS. The students there were great too. They gave us a tour of the school, we painted Beijing Opera masks, and we got to eat lunch together. It was interesting to see how different BNDS and Shishi were, but the students were similar. They were very friendly and excited to show us their school. We then got to do a little shopping and a little sightseeing. We think one of the highlights of the trip for all of us was when we got to visit the Great Wall of China. It was awesome to think how old and how long this wall was. It was also special because it snowed the day we went which we were told was very rare. It made the views very beautiful and it also made walking very scary. Some of us can now say we went sledding on the Great Wall of China. Except for how long the flights were, we had a great trip. We made great friends, we ate great food, we saw amazing sights, and when we got home we slept for 3 days. Thank you Wasatch Academy for this memorable experience!