About China Exchange

The Marble Hill China Exchange Program selects a few students each year to travel to China as part of a cultural exchange with a Chinese high school. This leadership and study abroad program has blossomed and expanded over the years to become an integral part of our school's identity as an international school that prepares our students for life in a global community.

Quick Summary - What is China Exchange? 
Up to 8 students are selected each year to participate in this year-long program. Throughout the year, students meet weekly to prepare for the program. Preparation involves fundraising, getting to know each other, preparing presentations, and learning more about China. The travel portion of the program all happens in second semester. During spring break, students spend two weeks in China. They travel and sightsee in 3 different cities during this time. They also experience a one-week homestay with a Chinese student from our sister school in China, the Nanjing Foreign Language School. In May, Chinese students from Nanjing visit New York for a reciprocal experience.

The Backstory
In 2005, our then-principal and founder Iris Zucker established a special connection with Nanjing Foreign Language School in Nanjing, China. Below are some pictures of our sister school in China:
morning flag ceremony

students in a classroom preparing to listen to a presentation
the nanjing school, xianlin campus

We sent three students from Marble Hill to visit the school and learn more about China and Chinese education. Since then, this relationship with our Chinese sister school has grown into a yearly exchange program. Each year we send several Marble Hill students to China for a few weeks to experience a foreign culture and a homestay with a family from the Nanjing School. In this exchange, our Bronx-bred students have the rare opportunity to travel internationally and get a firsthand glimpse of a society that is very different from their own--all an important part of our school mission of preparing our students to live and work in a global community. In turn, the Nanjing School sends us a few of their own students. They experience a New York tourists rarely see and have the opportunity to interact with the entire community of Marble Hill students.
Marble Hill and Nanjing School students at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
A Marble Hill student making friends with an elementary school pottery class!

A Nanjing School student playing chess with his host student's little brother.
In recent years, this program has developed into more than a simple cultural exchange. As the program grows, it has begun to morph into more of a leadership program, with our students taking charge of their own fundraising by planning school events and bake sales. Throughout the year of a student's participation, the student attends regular meetings to plan fundraising, take mini-Chinese lessons, and prepare for their exchange by learning about Chinese culture and history. As one can see from this blog, we have added a writing component to the program by having our students reflect upon their travels as they go and write short articles about a chosen topic upon their return. We hope these writings both help the students on the exchange engage and become more self-aware about their experience as well as provide a way for the rest of the Marble Hill community to share and benefit from the exchange. Finally, our participating students are responsible not only for representing our school in China through powerpoint presentations and dialogue, but for debriefing Marble Hill about the exchange experience at the end of the school year. In sum, our participating Marble Hill students truly develop their leadership and social skills in a way that helps them grow as people and citizens while preparing them for college life after high school.

China Exchange students selling goods at a fundraiser event
Students and teachers enjoying a Game Night fundraiser planned by the China Exchange students

Theatre Club playing improv games at Game Night
Mixing and mingling with the Nanjing students who take international studies

Our Marble Hill students give a powerpoint presentation on the US, New York, and life at Marble Hill.

Of course the greatest impact of the program is on the students who go to China and/or host Chinese students. However, the program is intended to benefit the entire Marble Hill community. All of our students have the opportunity to interact with the visiting Chinese students in class and in social gatherings. This exchange has been particularly popular with our new Chinese language class, who for the first time had the chance to meet and speak with a native speaker of Chinese. In addition, our own participating Marble Hill students create a bulletin board and prepare a powerpoint presentation for advisory classes upon their return from China, allowing students within the Marble Hill community to engage and dialogue with the exchange students about their experience. Even our students who did not travel to China are thus exposed to the concept of cultural exchange and international travel, in accordance with our school mission.