OVUHS welcomes Chinese students and visitors
BRANDON — In 2017, Otter Valley Union High School and Vermont International Academy (VIA) signed a memorandum of understanding to promote an educational exchange between Vermont and China with the goal of creating opportunities for Chinese students to study at OVUHS and for Vermont students to study at VIA schools in China. On Thursday, Nov. 8, at noon, OVUHS will welcome VIA student Qian Kexin (Cathy) of Guangzhou, China, Hanban Chinese teacher Qian Wei, and special guest John Holden of U.S.-China Strong Foundation in a ceremony to celebrate the educational partnership.
Our first student, Cathy, comments, “My experience at OV is the most exciting experience I have ever had and I appreciate all the students and teachers for taking care of me. I am also having a brilliant experience with my host family; they are treating me really well.”
Holden of the U.S.-China Strong Foundation will also be present to promote education exchange between the U.S. and China. Attending this ceremony will be Dr. James Cross, President of VIA and professor at Champlain College, James Avery, OVUHS Principal, Jeanné Collins, RNESU Superintendent and members of the OVUUSD School Board.
VIA is an international, multi-campus, college preparatory school with campuses located at six locations in the greater Shanghai and Guangzhou regions of China. The VIA curriculum and academic experiences are designed to ensure that international students are well prepared for American higher education and to provide opportunities for Vermont and other U.S. high school students to study in China for a short term, semester or year program at VIA. Currently, international college students contribute over $40 million to the Vermont economy and provide meaningful diversity to our student body.
The U.S.-China Strong Foundation seeks to strengthen American capacity to understand China, and thus to create more productive relations between future American leaders and their Chinese peers. President and CEO Holden has served as Associate Dean at Peking University and Professor of Management Practice at the Guanghua School of Management. A veteran China expert, Holden was president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations from 1998 to 2005.
In 2017 he received the P.R.C.’s highest honor for a foreigner, its “Friendship Award.” Mr. Holden has served as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China’s Board of Governors and held senior management positions at Cargill, Hill & Knowlton, and BankAmerica World Trade Corporation. Fluent in Mandarin, Holden lived in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei for more than 30 years, is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
OVUHS’s commitment to global awareness and the Chinese culture runs deep. Since 2003 Otter Valley has been involved with programs with China that have broadened students understanding of China and its many cultures. Most recently Otter Valley has worked in collaboration with the Hanban/Confucius Institute. Through this relationship, the school has been able to offer a Mandarin Chinese Language program and has maintained an ongoing relationship with Chinese education.
The partnership between OVUHS and VIA will allow students from the VIA schools in Shanghai to spend a semester or a year at OVUHS for full immersion exposure to American pedagogy. Visiting Chinese students will participate fully in the OVUHS curriculum and extracurriculars and will stay in the homes of OVUHS parents and community members.
OVUHS students will benefit from the visiting students in a variety of ways, especially in the ability to learn alongside students of another culture and gain cultural knowledge through these new relationships. OVUHS students will also have the opportunity to visit the VIA schools in Shanghai to study should any wish to do so.
All are welcome to join in the celebration of the new partnership and in welcoming VIA student Qian Kexin, teacher Qian Wei, and Holden.
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