chinese classroomWhen I was a high school student at Schuylkill Valley I almost went to Germany. Unfortunately, when the year arrived that I was slated to go, the school experienced some budgetary constraints and was forced to cancel the trip.

I was quite disappointed, as you would imagine. I had spent multiple years learning German and really enjoyed what I had learned about German culture.

Ahh well – c’est la vie, as they say.

Luckily 24 Berks County students had better luck recently. According to recent reports on Reading Eagle: “Six students from Schuylkill Valley, 14 from Wilson, two from Brandywine Heights and one each from Wyomissing and Oley Valley went on the trip, which cost about $2,500 per student. The students toured Beijing but spent the majority of their trip visiting Chinese schools and families in Shijiazhuang, a city about 170 miles south of Beijing.”

The students seem to have experienced diverse parts of Chinese living, ranging from visiting the Great Wall of China to spending full days in the Chinese school systems. No doubt the cultural breadth was stunning to the students as ancient living pressed directly up against modern innovation.

Simple differences in living caught some of the students by surprise, as further reported by Reading Eagle:

“At the homes, Skorpinski and Lykens learned more about their host families and about daily life in China. For example, the bathrooms don’t have bathtubs. Instead, there is a shower head and a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor. And instead of carpeting, most homes have hardwood floors, they said.”

There’s no question the costs associated with the trip were inhibitive to a lot of students who probably wanted to go. I doubt I could have conjured up a spare $2,500 in my high school days. Nevertheless, those students who did manage it received an experience they’ll remember forever.

Staying aware of China’s economical growth will only prove more and more valuable to future leaders of business and industry. Schuylkill Valley is well advised to stay connected with the foreign power.