The Beijing American Center hosts a continuing series of “coffee hours” twice a month for American student volunteers to chat with Chinese students over coffee and snacks. Their goal is to increase opportunities that Beijingers have to interact with “real live” Americans, giving them chance to chat with students about their studies, time in China, life back home, U.S. culture and education, etc. in casual, informal conversation. These events have proven to be a great chance for Chinese people to learn more about the United States—and for U.S. students to continue their cultural exchange with the people of China.
Throughout the second semester, participants of the NSLI-Y Academic Year Chinese language program have attended the “coffee hours” with large groups of Beijing youth and personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. NSLI-Y participants have used these opportunities to employ their Chinese language skills and connect with their local peers. They have also had the chance to speak with U.S. Embassy personnel who have provided insight and anecdotes into careers with the U.S. Foreign Service.
Following a recent event on April 24, staff from the American Center reached out to NSLI-Y Resident Director, Kristofer Gordon, thanking him for the group’s consistent participation, noting that “Your continued participation and support are highly appreciated. We can’t have our Coffee Hour without you!” Each “Coffee Hour” is set to a unique theme and presents a valuable platform in which the group can connect with internationally minded local peers, while working toward perfecting their Chinese language speaking and listening skills.