11 students on Saipan for cultural exchange

First Lady Diann Torres presents a plaque of participation to one of the students from Beijing who are on island for an educational and cultural exchange program. The plaques were given after a Chinese opera performance held yesterday at the Eucon International School on Middle Road. (Bea Cabrera)

At the invitation of the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, 11 students from Beijing, China are on Saipan to showcase the arts and dances of the Chinese culture, tour the islands and interact with other students, while experiencing the tropical beauty of the Commonwealth.

First lady Diann Torres said the first batch of exchange students is eager to share their culture.

“They reached out to us, which we appreciated and we are hoping to extend the invitation to the Public School System so our children can see other cultures. Many of us cannot afford to travel and we only get to see these beautiful places on television and on social media, but seeing it first hand is absolutely different and it’s an amazing experience,” she said.

“We want to keep the partnership going and, at the same time, bring our kids abroad to experience a different culture. We are looking forward to continuing this every other month and, hopefully, we would be able to gather enough sponsors [so] the children can come here,” she added.

The exchange students from China performed in front of Torres, faculty, staff, and students of the Eucon International College on Middle Road last Thursday. It was later followed by song performances by the Eucon International College students from different grade levels.

Eucon International College president Dr. Christian Wei said, “This is a great program that gives students a better view of other people’s traditions and culture.”

“We are so grateful for this opportunity because we see two cultures merge. The students from China performing the Chinese opera with full costume and make-up while our Eucon students sing Christmas songs,” he said.

“Hopefully, this kind of education exchange program will be longer next time so we can have longer classroom immersion and showcase more of the traditions so students will learn more. During this exchange, we were invited to go in Beijing and there is great potential and opportunities to bond the ties,” he added.

Century Tours supervisor Yang “May” Huihong said her office has been tasked to make all arrangements and logistics for the visiting children.

“It was a great success and the next educational tour exchange will hopefully be a longer one. In the future we plan to bring more students here,” she said.

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