Sam, a NSLI-Y China student who is currently on program with AFS, was selected by the U.S. Department of State as the American Abroad Student of the Month for November 2014. Sam has demonstrated an exceptional grasp of the NSLI-Y program values and continues to use his language skills to bridge the U.S. – China community. Originally from Greenville, N.C., Sam has enjoyed jumping into the intercultural differences regularly presented in his daily life in Changzhou. Sam has helped arrange volunteering opportunities for his NSLI-Y peers at a local elementary school. While at the school, Sam shares his American experience in creative ways, such as using his guitar to energize a classroom and finding creative ways to get Chinese students interested in learning English. Moreover, Sam has employed his constantly improving Chinese skills with his musical ability during a performance at his community’s National Day. Sam’s outgoing personality and desire to become fully immersed in China has broadened his reach as an exchange student, and he remarks that his everyday interactions inspire him with regard to the value of international exchanges.
Writes Sam, “My time in China has already been life-changing… I have not only learned about a fascinating culture and language, but I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about myself. Every day brings a fresh challenge and opportunity, both to learn and to teach. In the translated words of Confucius, ‘In every three people, one of them will definitely have something to teach me’… So far, this has been an experience without equal, and I can’t wait to see where it will lead me in the future.”
Click here to watch a clip of Sam showcasing his Chinese and musical abilities on a Chinese television program. The video captures Sam being interviewed by a Changzhou News station during a segment entitled “I Love Changzhou.” Sam answered several questions about his life in China before delighting a large audience with his live rendition of a popular 2011 Chinese song entitled “Lake Baikal.” The following is a translation of what Sam says in the interview:
“My name is Sam; my Chinese name is Jin, Rong Ke. I am living in Chang Zhou for ten months, but I have learned Chinese for about three years. There is a new challenge here every day. I have a lot of hobbies; I like photography, I like playing guitar, and I like reading. I think this world is very interesting.”
Here are the song lyrics translated as well:
“Our love brightens out the night at Lake Baikal. But years later, we can’t hold on to each other’s hands because of all the changes. Hopefully one day, our past will come back. There is not enough time in our life to prove our love. But one day, you will show up at Lake Baikal, clear but secret just as Lake Baikal.”