VCS Students Lead Cultural Excursions in China and Taiwan

NEW YORK, May 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Interviewing environmental activists, eating fried scorpions and developing a consensus protocol for destination decision-making might not be typical Spring Break activities for eighth graders. But those were among the adventures had by a group of Village Community School [VCS] Grade 8 students who journeyed to Kunming, Beijing and Taiwan for two weeks of intensive Mandarin practice, independent study projects and off-the-beaten-path cultural exploration.

The trip serves as a fitting culmination for soon-to-be VCS graduates, said Eve Kleger, VCS Head of School. “It’s the ultimate in immersive educational experiences. Through the improvisation of travel, students deepen cross-cultural understanding, come to appreciate new kinds of diversity and really feel what it means to be an interdependent community – both as a class and as global citizens.” 

Students researched destinations and organized individual study projects for weeks prior to departing. Once there, they played rotating roles – leader, educator, photographer, interpreter, and timekeeper – taking ownership of much of the itinerary. “We had to work together, be responsible and be willing to compromise,” said Maya, 13. “And it went really well.”

Making dumplings with their homestay families, visiting night markets, walking unrestored sections of the Great Wall, struggling to keep up with expert kung fu instructors, meeting ex-pats, witnessing tea packing and slurping noodles for breakfast were among students’ favorite moments.

All of the participants said they felt inspired to pursue interactive, in-depth travel (skipping tour buses and rote sightseeing) for the rest of their lives. “I’m fascinated by all the many different cultures there are to experience,” said Drew, 13. Garrett, 14, added, “There are so many places I would’ve never thought to go to before. Now I am.” Nodded Bebe, 13, “This trip made me want to travel the whole world!”

Village Community School provides a culture of achievement where students radiate intellectual vitality – stretching and advancing beyond traditional notions of what K-8 students can accomplish. Our 350 students live their learning through active experiences that delve deeply into subject matter and make connections between disciplines. Located in Greenwich Village, VCS offers an inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are essential to our rigorous academic program.

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SOURCE Village Community School (VCS)

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