Who's going to China?

The China Exchange Program emphasizes leadership, cultural ambassadorship, teamwork, and a balanced approach to academics and extracurricular development. As such, we select our participants based on their demonstration of or potential leadership skills, strong character and dedication to community, interest in exploring other cultures, responsibility, and academic achievement. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 85 or higher, and demonstrate the ability to manage their time effectively and handle the stress of multiple responsibilities. Students must demonstrate an ability to represent the school through their demeanor and public speaking skills.

Applications are usually available in late May and due in June.  The application includes a series of short answer questions, two teacher recommendations, and an interview.

Cohort 2015
Ismatou Barry
Natara Fletcher
Hickson Frimpong
Genesis Lantigua
Hadja Koumba Sow
Yahaira Ruiz
Jahod Williams

Check out the bios for our 2015 Cohort below:

Hello… My name is Hadja Sow. I was born and raised in Guinea, West Africa. I have been living in the United States of America since April 2011 with my family. I’m a senior at Marble Hill School for International Studies and a member of the China Exchange program. I’m interested in fashion and I love Chinese food. My favorite subject is Global History because it helps me learn more about the world. I love to travel around the world and interact with people that have different beliefs and cultures from mine, which is why I’m interested in this program.

I believe that the more a person travels, the more he or she is open minded and knowledgeable. Before my dad passed away, he took me to France and Belgium when I was eight years old. It was our last trip together because he died some months later. I still consider those moments the best days of my life because the memories still stick with me. I remember us taking the Metro from Paris to Belgium. That was not only cool because we saw the antique buildings of Paris and the famous Eiffel tour, but because it was my first time taking a train. We did not have trains in my country. Experiencing all that with one of the most important people in my life and having to come to the United States of America to continue my education made me want to explore more. I want to go to China because I have seen how other Marble Hill students came back from China in the past, really excited to share their experience with the school, and I want to be able to do the same when I come back. I’m not just going to China because it’s fun, but because I want to expand my knowledge by learning about the Chinese culture. I thank my school for choosing me and my mother for paying the expenses of the trip because without her this was not going to be possible.

Hello, my name is Ismatou Barry, I’m African American. When I heard of the China Exchange Program I was extremely excited. I first heard of this program when some of the China Exchange students came into my English class. They presented a powerpoint based on their journey to China. In most of the images the students looked very excited and interested in what they were doing. One picture left a really strong impression—they were in a garden picking green tea wearing aprons and Chinese sunhats, and smiling. Before those presenters walked in I was bored. Then they started talking and I was alive and ready to listen. I don’t really travel a lot but the idea of going to a different area and learning new things, I loved. So I decided to apply for the China Exchange Program. I figured it sounded fun and I could learned a thing or two about the Chinese culture. When I heard that we will get to host the Chinese student we stay with while we’re in China I became even more thrilled.

Not only will this trip be enlightening but it will also benefit me in the future. Colleges will look at the type of programs I joined during my high school year, and seeing that I have traveled to a different country will be very helpful in getting into the kind of college I want.

Hello my name is Jahod Williams. I'm a student of Marble Hill High School for International Studies and I participate in a program called China Exchange. This program is about experiencing life in China by living with a Chinese family and going to school with Chinese people. It allows you to get a first hand experience of Chinese teens’ everyday life, of what they do in school, how they study, and even what they eat. Also you get to see and explore three places in china. Then we exchange the family we were living with—the Chinese student comes to live with us and goes to school with us to see how it is to be American. 

Now the reason I joined China Exchange was so I can build more friendly relationships and be able to interact with people I don't know because I barely know people in my school. I also wanted to have the opportunity to experience the life of a Chinese person and see how different their lifestyle is from mine.  Besides, I’ve heard that when I'm there people in China might treat me as if I were famous—I mean, who doesn't want that? I know I've never been seen as a famous person so that would be a great experience. In addition, I've never been on a plane in my entire life so this would be a awesome first experience for me, thirteen hours in the air for a first flight. I can just imagine the fun. I believe China Exchange will expand my knowledge of the world and allow me to really understand that there are more places in the world than just New York and that every one isn't like me, some people eat different foods, work differently and just have different lifestyles. And this is why I joined China Exchange.

My name is Genesis Lantigua and I was born in Puerto Rico. When I was twelve years old I moved to New York. At first I was a little bit sad because I missed my home, but with the passing of time I got used to it. Although I was born in Puerto Rico, my parents are from the Dominican Republic so I feel more comfortable with Dominican culture. I like to dance, read books, spend time with my friends, watch scary movies and do fun things. I was raised to be respectful and I expect the same treatment.  In my family I am the youngest. I have a sister and a brother that are an example to follow. They are role models to me because they went to college and they study really hard. They influenced me to do really well in school and to go to college.

The reason why I applied to China Exchange is because I want to learn about Chinese culture, especially the Chinese school system. I want to know the differences and similarities that our schools and China’s schools have. If I learned about it there I would be able to make a conclusion about which system works better to educate the students. When I come back to my school, I’ll have a better understanding of my own school system. I am really excited and hope to learn a lot and have a lot of fun when we get over there!