Chinese Exchange Students Embrace Culture at Wardlaw-Hartridge

Wardlaw-Hartridge seniors Jordan Rose of Watchung and Carlin Schildge of Westfield make dumplings during the Chinese New Year celebrations. Credits: Wardlaw-Hartridge School

EDISON, NJ - Nine students and one chaperone from Shishi High School in Chengdu, China spent four days with students and host families at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison this week. W-H will send students to China during Spring Break in March for the second half of this year’s program.

The Shishi contingent arrived Sunday and was greeted with a welcome dinner in the Oakwood Room, prepared by Sage Dining Services. After spending Monday’s day off from school at iPlay America in Freehold, the visitors attended classes and special programs with W-H students on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 17-18.

“It’s a very beautiful school,” said Kevin, one of the Shishi students in the exchange program. “Everyone in this school is so friendly. The teachers and students are so nice.”

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The Shishi students made a series of presentations to W-H students in all three divisions on Tuesday. Presentation topics included Kung Fu, Pandas, Science Fiction, Chinese Achievements and Paper Cutting. Shishi students also shared information about their culture, food, school and city.  Some of the more advanced W-H Chinese language students shared conversations with the visitors in Mandarin.

Shishi students attended classes with their W-H hosts on both days.

“This school is very modern. Everyone can use iPads and laptops, which is very convenient,” said Angie, who is a sophomore. “The classes are small so it’s easier for the students to learn and nice for the teachers.”

Wednesday’s activities focused more on culture and entertainment. W-H international students and Chinese language students joined the Shishi students for a celebration of Chinese New Year in the Oakwood Room, where whey made dumplings, played games and wrote in calligraphy. Later in the afternoon, W-H and Shishi students staged vocal, instrumental and dance performances. The finale was a group dance called "The Coolest National Wind."

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