EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 29, 2013

Andover High students gear up for weeklong China trip

ANDOVER — While families throughout town may plans for beaches or ski trips this April school vacation, 10 high school students have a unique destination in mind: China.

The students will represent Andover, the Merrimack Valley and the United States when they spend a week at the Hengshui (pronounced heng-shway) School in China’s Hebei (pronounced her-bay) province from April 13 to 21, the week reserved for spring break.

Most of the students are enrolled in the high school’s Chinese language program, led by teacher Mei Lynn. A few others joined the trip after hearing about the opportunity among high school chatter, they said.

Ali Hale, one of the students going on the trip, said she has been studying Chinese for five years and is eager to put it to use.

“I just want to go out there to see and learn about the culture,” she said. “Learning Chinese is one thing in a classroom, but going over there is a completely different thing. There is nothing like going and getting hands-on and seeing it for yourself.”

The students also have a chance to build relationships that span the globe.

Michael Hanscom, one of three students on the trip who isn’t enrolled in the high school’s Chinese program, said he is going because “this is one of those things where, if I don’t do it now, I will never get to do it. If you have an opportunity to experience a culture so different than your own, you should do it.”

Hugh Smith, another student on the trip, said he’s going with the group to expose himself to new ways of thinking.

“I’ve never taken Chinese, but once I heard about this opportunity, I wanted to go just to learn about the education system,” he said.

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