The NIHF STEM Middle School employs a full immersion
Mandarin Chinese Course for 200 students in grades 7th through 8th.
The students have the opportunity to continue their study of
Mandarin Chinese at the STEM High School. Studying Mandarin Chinese
has allowed STEM Middle School students the experience of performing
at Confucius Institute Programs at The University of Akron and
Cleveland State. Also, because of their study of Mandarin Chinese
the students had the wonderful opportunity to travel to China these
----Dreama Mason Whitfield, Counselor
The China Experience
My name is Kareemat Melaiye and I am in the 9th grade.
This past summer, I went on the trip to China with a few of my
classmates. I was very excited because I have wanted to go on this
trip since the 7th grade. I found learning Chinese very interesting;
I was interested in the language, the culture, and actual Chinese
food. At the Chinese Speech Competition in my school, I won 1st
place twice in a row! This encouraged me even more to learn Chinese
language and go to China. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to go
for the Chinese trip and took advantage of it. It was exciting to
finally get out of the country and explore new places and cultures.
When the day came, I prepared myself for the trip and headed to the
airport. The flight was very long, but it was worth it when our
plane landed in Beijing, China.
In China, I was amazed at what I saw. There were colors
everywhere, there was a lot of traffic, the shopping malls were very
big, and the food was very delicious. I don’t think I had culture
shock, but there were definitely things I would only see in
festivals in America. For the first two days, everyone who attended
the trip went to the Beijing Royal School and attended their opening
ceremony. The next day, the Cleveland cluster and a few other
schools from cities had gone to Ningbo in Zhejiang Province and we
were placed in the Ningbo Foreign Language School. I was happy that
I had eventually made not only new American friends, but new Chinese
friends. We went to see the ancient attractions such as the Baoguo
Temple, TianyiPavillion, and Liang Zhu Park. We also participated in
a Chinese vs. American Basketball game, Taichi, and Ping-Pong, and
were guests at some of the Chinese volunteers’ houses.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Ningbo and go back to Beijing. I
still miss my Chinese friends. In Beijing, we went to the Forbidden
Palace and walked up the Great Wall of China! I will never forget
walking up the Great Wall of China, it was such an experience! I
really enjoyed this trip and would love to have another opportunity
to go again next year!
My name is Leila Sims. Never in a million years did I
think I would be going halfway across the world. It was completely
out my comfort zone. Now, here I am telling you what an amazing
experience I had this past summer in China. When I was 13 years old,
I learned Chinese at a middle school I went to. Learning Chinese
definitely helped me feel better about going to China; even though
I’ve only been taking it for one year. I at least had some sense
about the country I was travelling to. Going with my closest friends
especially made me feel a lot better because I knew I wasn’t going
to have go through this amazing experience alone.
This had a huge impact on me because I have never, ever, been
outside the North American continent. This is an experience I will
remember for the rest of my life. I am now 14 years old, so I’ll
remember when I’m 20 years old, 25, 30, 40. I will tell my children
and grandchildren about this, and I will show the amazing, beautiful
jade jewelry I brought back. Especially going at a young age,
because it makes the experience that much greater. It makes you grow
up a little, because it brings you to a whole new culture that you
have never seen before. It also makes you realize that there is, so
much more to see out in the world besides your native country.
Forget what the media says; why experience a different country
through the TV, when you can get up and see if for yourself, so you
can have something to take away. If you want to travel the world,
don’t sit there, do it, because I guarantee you that you will truly
My name is Nathan Dort and I’m in 9th grade this year.
I went to China this summer with my school friends. There are many
things that happened in China. First of all, just the plane ride
over was a great way to see the different sights. Right when we
landed in China, there were so many differences. The airport was
busy and crazy; I could tell it was going to be a fun experience. We
got on the bus and went back to the dorms; we were greeted very
nicely and then led to our rooms. The next day we went down to
breakfast and had authentic Chinese food. They were very tasty and
interesting. After breakfast, we had a little bit of time to explore
the campus. Afterwards we went to the auditorium and they gave us a
great opening speech that informed us about all the local customs
and what we needed to know in China.
After the opening ceremony, we went to the headquarters of Han ban.
That was the first experience in China and actually being able to
interact with Chinese people. The next day, we flew to Ningbo where
we would spend the next week and a half.
When we got to Ningbo we were greeted again and they showed us to
our rooms. They also showed us where we would be taking classes.
That night we had a lovely meal and went to bed. The next day we got
to meet our teachers and went to the auditorium. The school gave us
a great welcoming and told us how excited they were to have us. Then
we got into our groups and learned a lot of different things about
China and the language. We went to a lot of different sights and had
plenty of fun experiences.
The best experience of all was performing Chinese opera. We did this
as a final performance for the closing ceremony. We did a lot of fun
things that had a lasting impact. It was a great experience. I met
new friends that I still talk to today. I will never forget the time
I had in China.