By Global Learning Coordinator Julie Farrell
Due to the pandemic for the second consecutive school year, we cancelled long-awaited trips to Taiwan, Guilin, and Yunnan, not to mention a whole host of smaller annual events that help bind and build our community. Silver linings don’t come easy these days. And yet, along with the many sacrifices come valuable lessons too: in patience, humility, hand-washing, and in our impressive human capacity to adapt to adverse circumstances and support one another through hard times. Though we’d all love for our students to be able to explore the craggy karst landscape of Guilin or the verdant gorges of Yunnan this spring, other valuable opportunities await from the safety of our campus bubble.
This year we have embarked on a new adventure in global programming, rooted firmly in community and with the support of dedicated partners abroad. From March 29 to April 9, we have interrupted our regularly-scheduled programming to immerse 7th and 8th graders in Mandarin language instruction and cross-cultural learning. We have affectionately dubbed this course “春FUN,” a play on words with 春分 chūnfēn, the traditional Chinese calendar cycle kicking off at Spring Equinox. Our students deserve a challenging, empowering, and FUN way to round out this taxing year, and—in the case of our 8th graders—to celebrate many years of friendship and learning at CAIS.
On-Campus Immersive Mandarin Instruction
For the duration of the 春FUN program, 7th and 8th graders are using Mandarin as their primary language while on campus. Aside from Advisory sessions and other essential communication, all on-campus instruction is being provided in Mandarin. Activities are running the gamut from competitive language drills to cooking class to Tai Chi as we create our own Mandarin-speaking world right at the 888 Campus.
Guilin Buddy (朋友) Program
Each afternoon during the 12-day program period, CAIS 7th and 8th graders have the opportunity to connect over Zoom—live and unmasked!—with a CAIS classmate and one Chinese conversation ‘“Buddy” based in Guilin, China.