2012 China Cultural Exchange participants reunite

BCPS students and teachers visited the Temple of Heaven in Beijing in July 2012. They stand in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

Spending almost two months in China gave 27 Baltimore County Public Schools students and three accompanying teachers a wealth of experiences. On September 6, 2012, they gathered at Oregon Ridge Lodge to share their stories. Many of these stories revealed the growth that living in another culture offers, and it was obvious that they all benefited from their time there.

These students and teachers travelled to China from May 20 – July 11, 2012, as part of a cultural exchange program between BCPS and Tie Yi School in Xi'an, China that began in 2007. The 2012 contingent included students from Dulaney, Hereford, Owings Mills, Patapsco, Perry Hall, Towson, Randallstown, and Woodlawn high schools and educators from Perry Hall and Patapsco high schools. From May 22 through July 6, the students and teachers lived with Chinese host families and took classes at Tie Yi School. They ended their journey by spending July 6–11 touring Beijing. 

The September 6 reunion was the first time for the group to fully reassemble since returning to Baltimore County. Here are some of the students' responses when asked, "What are some important concepts, factors, and ideas you discovered/learned through this experience?"

  • "I learned the idea of universal humanism…that all men share many traits while being so different." Donte Vann, Woodlawn High
  • "I learned independence, innovation, resourcefulness, and problem solving."  Peter de Guzman, Towson High
  • "I learned much deeper and intriguing things about Chinese history and culture."  Jordan Bell, Perry Hall High
  • "I gained a much greater knowledge of the spoken Chinese language."  Andy Phillips, Towson High
  • "I learned how to build good relationships with peers and adults from another culture. I also learned a deeper appreciation of my American family."  Natalie Baker, Dulaney High
  • "I learned about diversity, discounting stereotypes, and an understanding of a different culture." Kyra Twohy, Dulaney High
  • "I learned more of the Chinese language, how to use chopsticks, and how much the Chinese students study." Brittany Paige, Patapsco High
  • "Some important concepts, factors, and ideas I have learned through this experience are independence, responsibility, and confidence."  Hui Zeng, Perry Hall High
  • "I learned the importance of respect at all times."  Jonathan Galla, Hereford High
  • "Through this experience, I learned to appreciate different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles."  LaShawn Mellerson, Randallstown High

To learn more about the students' and teachers' experiences, please visit, an online travel blog that includes 120 entries and more than 1,000 pictures.

Story and photos submitted by Deborah Wilson-Matusky, Resource Teacher, China Cultural Exchange Program Coordinator, Office of World Languages
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