It began in April of 2013 by getting accepted into the Brookline High School China Exchange program. Reality started to sent in when we met our counterparts from China at the airport in September. We have spent time together learning Chinese and showing these students our home city of Boston, but now it is time for us to embark on our own adventure. Four months seems like a long time, but will fly by as we experience a whole new culture.
Back Row: Deb Holman – Headmaster, Steve Lantos – Program Coordinator, Josh Russo, Rachel Parks Lui, Adam Wolf – Teacher Leader
Front Row: Amir Ankori-Karlinsky, Roy’al Sanyika-Hall, Diego Fernandez-Pages, Yeolim Jo, Izzy Trask, Borja Herriaz
Hello…I was telling my story…I was attempting to go back to a time when I lacked the knowledge of this opportunity, I could not. I kept on trying but they were all in vain. I realized then that why try to do so. Why! I realized that this program has been a part of me ever since my eyes were drawn to the glazed illustration that lay on a dusty window. I could not imagine my High school career without taking advantage of this path that my life had come across. The first time around the only thing I saw was backs turned and my brother gasping for air. This destroyed me from the inside. I could not bare the thought of having to give up on this, but at the same time my feelings of anger and hate towards this, now false, opportunity blinded me. Not for long, the next the came around and I saw the eyes of seven with arms open and grateful smiles. I say this now with in foot in a steel bird and the other in the old and boring ground I tried do hard to escape from.
Hi my name is Josh Russo, and I’m a sophomore in CHEX program this year. I’ve been taking Chinese for 11 years at Driscoll and the High School, and I’m excited to take it to the next level. I’ve always loved to travel and learn about other cultures, but I’ve never lived anywhere besides Brookline. This is truly the best way to solidify my Chinese language and culture learning.
Rachel Parks Liu:
Hi I am Rachel. I had been interested in the China Exchange since I’d heard about it in the 8th grade. I applied for it my freshman year and didn’t get in. Although I had uncertainties about applying again, I applied again my sophomore year, and I am so excited to be going to China.
Hi. My name is Izzy Task and I am a junior at BHS. I started learning Chinese in middle school and in 7th grade I almost dropped it and started learning Spanish. My sister was adopted from China and because of this my parents pressured me into continuing the language. It turns out that this was one of the best things they ever made me do. I have always been really excited about traveling and when I got to BHS I also came to really enjoy learning Chinese. I can’t believe I am getting on a plane to China tomorrow and I am so excited!!!
My name is Diego Fernández-Pagés (裴迪洋) , and for the next four months I’ll be living in fenglingluzhou (枫林绿州), Xi’an (西安), China (中国). As the only senior on the trip, I’m looking forward to spending the last semester of high school abroad, discovering one of the most radically different cultures in the world–known popularly to be on the other side of the world. I decided to join in the first place because I love to travel, and going to China represents the first of many journeys I plan to organize my life around. By the time I come back, I hope to have at least conversational Chinese. More than that, however, I’d like to be able to use the experiences I gain there as I enter my life as a college student and leave the high school for the last time.
My name is Yeolim Jo and am a junior on the CHEX program. I remember in 8th grade being enraptured by the informational meeting that the BHS’s Chinese teacher gave at Runkle, my elementary school, about the China Exchange Program. I knew from that moment I wanted to apply and experience the fun and magic everyone had been talking about. Three years later, here I am, about to embark on the greatest journey of my life (thus far). I’m incredibly nervous yet super excited to have been given this opportunity to travel and experience the world with great friends.
Hello, My name is Roy’al Sanyika-Hall. I am a junior at Brookline High School and have studied Chinese since Sophomore year. I’ve always had an interest in the cultures and traditions of other people and when I heard about China Exchange, I knew it was the thing for me. I am beyond excited to be a part of CHEX 2014, because 2 plus years ago I would’ve never imagined me doing it.
My name is Amir Adam Ankori-Karlinsky: I am an Israeli-American living in China at the moment, I like reading and writing and all of the sub-categories that follow. Right now I am a junior at Brookline High School, but I moonlight as a Gao Xin Yi Zhong Sophmore. This is my third year studying Chinese and being here makes me feel that I should really know more than I do, culturally and linguistically speaking, that is, and I am enjoying every moment here: even the ones I am sad in, it is still enjoyable or at the very least educational. The only thing is the pollution: that is rough. The Yogurt is great, though. Way better than even labaneh in some ways.
This whole process began a few years ago when I first began teaching AP physics and had the pleasure of having three China Exchange students in my class. Brookline being so diverse this wasn’t strange, but what instantly struck me was the dedication of these three Gao Xin students to try to understand a new culture and language while at the same time expending great effort to learn physics. The program that had brought these students to my class intrigued me and I envied the opportunity to travel and teach in China. Flash forward a few years to the present, we have spent the fall becoming a unified group, and while I am terrified about my lack of ability to speak Chinese I am equally excited to meet my host family. The next few months will be an adventure I will never forget.