Reflections from Participants in the 2015 “Hefner Initiative – USA/China/Asia” China summer program

August 17, 2015
By Metra Nichols

The 2015 “Hefner Initiative – China” program this past July was a great success with two weeks of cultural experience in Beijing and Suzhou China. Beijing never fails to awe-inspire tourists from around the world, and this year was the program’s first experience in the Venice of the Orient – Suzhou!

“The trip to China was a truly remarkable experience! I am extremely grateful I was given such a wonderful opportunity. Only a week into the fall semester, and I’ve already been able to share some of my new insight and experience with my students.”
-Monique Baxter, Hefner Ambassador-OSSM

“The time I was able to spend with our host students allowed me to better understand the Chinese culture and how their views are different from my own, and I now understand and can see that a good relationship between China and the United States is imperative. My trip to China was an unforgettable experience!”
-Sophia Mastakas, Hefner Awardee-Albemarle

“We were shown the wonders and history of Beijing by our fantastic host buddies! The Sino-US relationship is changing and our two nations are the two most powerful countries in the world, and having a mutually beneficial relationship is vital.”
-Cori McGinley, Hefner Awardee-Webb Schools

“All of the secondhand sources about the world pale in comparison with firsthand experience. The life in the cities we visited in China were completely opposite to my quiet suburban life in The States, and this experience was far beyond anything I’d ever seen or even heard about in the US.”
-Francisco Munoz, Hefner Awardee-Webb Schools

“This is truly a once in a lifetime experience; even if I had the privilege to make this journey at some other point in my life, I would never have made the friends that I did, learned what I learned, nor had the opportunity to understand just how magnificent a country China is!”
-Pedro De Aos, Hefner Awardee-OSSM

“China, in a word, was incredible. Its seamless integration of modern and ancient was a sight to behold, as were the throngs of people we perennially waded through. Everything was larger than life, and the kindness felt by everyone and our hosts was amazing!”
-Emily Dial, Hefner Awardee-OSSM