International Students From Miami Middletown Visit Mason High School

MUM ELC student at Mason High SchoolOn May 12, a group of international students from Miami Middletown made a road trip to Mason High School to make new friends in Ling Ling Nian's Advanced Placement Chinese class.

The class is a mixture of Mason's own international students plus local students who are studying Chinese. According to Mrs. Nian, the class just finished taking its AP tests for the year, and the visit gives them a chance to both practice what they have been learning and learn more about the cities where the Miami students are from.

This was the third trip this cohort of students made to Mason High School to use Power Point slides in discussing the climate, the foods, top tourist attractions, and the local cultural affairs of their home towns, according to organizer Jessica Braine, a part-time faculty member at the Regional Campuses who teaches English to international students.

"I orchestrated the trip because I think this area has tremendous potential for intercultural connection with all of the international people living in our neighborhoods," Braine said. "It fits within my mission statement to foster mutual understanding and respect between divergent cultures."

"Learning a language just isn't about being in a classroom," she said, "for me it exists within a broader spectrum of mutual understanding and respect for diverse cultures.

"I know that they're all going to go home and talk about how warm and welcoming Americans are. They love this experience."

The Chinese students use their "American names"-- Gloria, Carson, Memory, Allen, Warren, Cynthia and Jack.

"I suspected it would be mutually beneficial," Braine said. "When I met them I immediately thought wouldn't it be great for them to help teach Chinese to these students, and also to be able to meet Americans who are closer to their age group. Since there's a little bit of English going on and a little bit of Chinese going on, it would give them a broader understanding of what it's like to be an American. It gives the American students learning Chinese a closer connection to their culture."

Mason has nine students in the AP Chinese class, working on special projects after finishing their annual test. Mrs. Nian gave her students a rubric to evaluate the presentations and give the college students feedback on their work.

Professor Lin Guo, who teaches advanced international students on the regional campuses, was also on hand to explore doing similar field trips with her students.