By Lucy Carr
Five students from Beijing High School No. 4 spent three weeks studying at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics as part of the 2018 “Hefner Initiative USA/ China/ Asia.” This year’s Hefner Scholars were Cloris Zhang, Cynthia Li, Julia Wen, Leo Xu, and Steven Chen. They stayed in the dorms at OSSM, attended classes and participated in school activities, as well as enjoying special outings to learn about the history and culture of Oklahoma.
This year’s program included tours of the Oklahoma History Center, Norman North High School, Oklahoma City Community College’s Film & Video Department, the University of Oklahoma campus, the Sam Noble Museum, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The Hefner Scholars also enjoyed a performance of the musical “School of Rock,” hosted by OSSM Principal Dr. Frank Wang. Hefner Scholar Leo Xu wrote of his experiences, “Prior to this trip, I had only blurry ideas about this relationship [between the U.S. and China] due to my lack of understanding about American culture. It’s not that I knew too little about the U.S, since I have taken American history courses and been to America before. But none of them provided me with an opportunity to truly experience American culture. That’s why this trip funded by Hefner Foundation was such a significant step in understanding America for me. Going to a real American high school, attending American classes and chatting with American teenagers are among the best ways to understand this culture.”