A group of college students from the United States have just finished serving students in Mainland China through the Amity Foundation’s service-learning program.
On Feb. 26- Mar. 5, 13 students and two teachers from the history and anthropology departments of Davidson College in North Carolina, traveled to Xinyu in Jiangxi Province to undertake service-learning activities at Xinyu College, according to Amity Foundation.
The Amity Foundation have arranged the service-learning program with an aim to help students develop a variety of skills that strengthen their ability to face current social challenges, and to promote a meaningful interaction between education and society. It has developed into an international program operating in colleges and universities in the Philippines, Korea, India, Thailand and Japan, students from all over the world are given opportunity to serve in China.
The group of students from the U.S. went to Xinyu College and gave English classes, taking part in the Chinese students' regular "English Corner", and giving lectures to Chinese students on European and American culture, Amity Foundation reported. The presence of the American group presented Xinyu College with a rare opportunity to practice their English language skills.
At the same time, cultural exchange can be achieved through the program. The group heard a series of lectures given by Chinese faculty on Chinese culture, with topics including Chinese calligraphy and Chinese tea. The group has also taken part in the production of traditional local handicrafts, such as Xiabu (grass cloth).
"The program really helped them acquire an awareness of the riches of Chinese culture and of life in modern Chinese society," the group reflected as quoted by the Amity Foundation.
For Xinyu College, it has also found the experience very rewarding: "The activities organized by the American students contributed greatly to raising the Chinese students' general enthusiasm for the English language, as well as widening their horizons through the culture lectures given. The school itself also felt that the program had enabled it to gain valuable experience in organizing such exchanges, and they hope that more such exchanges will take place in the future."
Meanwhile, plans are already afoot for a second group of students to visit the college in the second half of 2006.
The Amity Foundation, an independent voluntary organization founded by Chinese Christians. It is working closely with the government-sanctioned church in Mainland China.