A 'life changing experience' in China

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Three Lakes District Secondary School students - Jobena Alec, Leneah Sherwood and Marlee Wilson - have recently joined school students from across B.C. in the annual Beijing International Student Summer Camp.

The summer camp unites students from around the world, fostering internationalism and respect among students, who return home with cross-cultural communication skills that benefit them later in their careers.

During the 10 days in Beijing, students learned about the history and culture of China, visited key landmarks and tried new cuisines. Students also learned about the day-to-day life in Beijing while putting their Mandarin abilities to the test.

Alec, who was travelling abroad for the first time, said her experience was "life changing."

"I learned about the history of Chinese culture and society, and I came to realize the significance of learning about a new culture as well as sharing my own," she said. "This opportunity gave me the courage to do new things and see new places."

"I met so many new people who I had never thought I would meet," she continued. "This experience changed my mindset; I got to experience a different culture firsthand, and it expanded my knowledge about the world."

"In a way, it set me free, because I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything now," she added.

Sherwood, who was also travelling abroad for the first time, said the best part of her experience was being able to interact with people from all over the world.

"I was really shy before I went to China and I think I've really come out of my shell," she said.

Sherwood said this experience in Beijing has allowed her to build her self-confidence and that she believes it will have a lasting impact on her personal, academic and professional life.

The B.C. Council for International Education has been partnering with the Beijing International Education Exchange since 2011 to coordinate this international experience for youth.

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