March 7, 2015: Update from Ron Young

Dear TIS Community,

Greetings from Suzhou, China! Our Chinese Capstone experience is entering its fourth official day and our students are busy preparing to depart with their host families this evening. There is an excited (and somewhat nervous) energy among the students and parents; everyone is ready for this ultimate immersion experience to begin!

This morning our students spent some time at a local park interacting with Suzhou residents who were completing some Sunday morning exercise. The task we gave our students was not easy: go talk to the people. This can be a bit awkward, even in one’s native language, but our students did not shrink from the challenge. Keeping in mind the learner profile traits of risk-taker and communicator, our students moved through the park and spoke to these folks in Chinese. In every interaction, the local residents were delighted to hear these students, from far away Portland, Oregon, who were speaking Mandarin. I was so proud of their performance.

We’ve had many wonderful opportunities since arriving in China. In Shanghai, our students walked along the world-famous Bund (a promenade along the Huangpu River) and interviewed residents of Shanghai and other Chinese tourists. The interviews were part of the students’ field research for their exhibition projects. It was inspiring to see these interactions.

I hope these two examples illustrate for you the immense value that our Capstone trips offer our students, teachers, and families.


-Ron Young, K-5 Principal