My trip with NSLI-Y to Zhuhai, China was a life-changing experience. Never before had I been exposed to so much new culture, language, food, so many new people and new perspectives. My host family helped me understand Chinese culture more deeply than I thought possible. I felt so connected to people that I had only known for a few weeks, and I am still in deep gratitude to them for helping me widen my perspective to think about things from points of view I didn’t even know existed.
The impact of that journey has stayed with me, and now I want to spread that connection between cultures. The best way to do this, it seemed, was to create a pen pal program between my host brother and his 3rd grade class, and a class from a school near my home in the U.S.
My host mother was enthusiastic about the idea, and has since emailed me, saying how excited and happy she is to receive the letters “from the angels”. She helped organize the Chinese students so that they would be ready to receive and respond to the letters sent by the American students. On my end, I fundraised to get money for the postage, and organized the kindergarten and 3rd grade students at the American elementary school. Everyone participating is excited for the opportunity to learn about another country, and I am excited to help share my experience with younger students so that they can hopefully gain a wider perspective as they grow up.
The letters sent to China were unfortunately lost in the mail, so I emailed the digital scans of the letters to my host mother so that she can give them to the Chinese students. I am currently awaiting her response. I look forward to the new friendships that will be formed and knowledge that will be shared.
Nathan was a NSLI-Y participant in the 2015 China Summer program.