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Students await upcoming June Academy China trip

Students+and+teachers+on+last+year%27s+China+trip+pose+on+the+Great+Wall.
Students and teachers on last year's China trip pose on the Great Wall.

Students and teachers on last year's China trip pose on the Great Wall.

Ma Ya Tao

Ma Ya Tao

Students and teachers on last year's China trip pose on the Great Wall.

Charlie Marchiony, Staff Writer

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Since its inception last year, June Academy has been the perfect time for WHS students to travel abroad. Last year, students traveled to countries such as China, Cuba, and South Africa. While other domestic and international trips are held throughout the year, China remains this year as the sole international June Academy trip.

Started in 2008, the China trip is open to all students, not just those studying Mandarin. According to Mandarin teacher and China trip leader Ma Ya Tao, the trip takes the classroom learning into the real world.

“I try to get them to explore the Chinese language,” Tao said. “I really want the students to move the classroom to China. That’s the original purpose of the trip.”

The trip aims to help students studying Mandarin develop their knowledge of the language in a real world setting, while other students will learn basic conversation and interaction skills. Sophomore Kayla Silverman is planning to go on the trip for a second time and hopes to use the skills she’s gained taking Mandarin at WHS.

“I’m excited to use my Mandarin to talk to other people and experience the culture even further,” Silverman said.

According to Silverman, the historical aspect of the trip gives it broader appeal and exposes students to a brand new cultural experience.

“I love seeing the culture of the people,” Silverman said. “I love trying new things. I tried a bunch of different foods, and I went to a lot of historical places, so that was really fun.”

Holding the trip during June Academy opens it up to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go due to scheduling obligations. This increases enrollment rates, which is one of the biggest challenges for any international trip.

“Students used to not be able to join [the trip] because of family plans or sports [during school vacations],” Tao said. “June Academy is fantastic because everybody has that dedicated time to do these trips.”

June Academy increases the trip’s length, easing some of the stresses previously caused by holding it during April vacation.

“With June Academy, students don’t miss school and don’t come back jetlagged,” Tao said.

The extra week provided by June Academy also makes it possible to visit different geographical regions of China, while spending enough time at each place for it to be worth it.

History teacher and trip chaperone Donald Benson elaborated on this year’s destinations.

“We’re starting out in Beijing, then we’re going to Xi’an, then finally Shanghai,” Benson said. “I’m really looking forward to Shanghai, as well as the historical locations, especially the Great wall, the Forbidden city, and the terracotta warriors.”

Students eagerly await the destinations the trip holds, which has been over eight months in the making. This opportunity will expose students to new experiences and allow them to explore a diverse range cultures and perspectives. The trip is set to depart on Monday, June 11, and will continue through both weeks of June Academy.

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Students await upcoming June Academy China trip