Exchange students discuss bridging Asia-Pacific relations


Renewing their interest in public service, Beijing and Hong Kong exchange students returned to the Commonwealth to learn about government functions, economic differences, tourism and opportunities for students.

As part of a pilot exchange program, which began in 2016 to bridge Asia-Pacific relations, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres welcomed six students from Beijing and Hong Kong to the Office of the Governor.

“At the rate of globalization, it has been very enlightening to learn about their perspectives and to share our culture and customs with them. Educational tourism is one niche we’ve begun to explore, and I’m always pleased to welcome visiting students and the youth in our community to learn more about functions of the Executive Branch. We hope to continue building stronger Asia-Pacific relations through this initiative and create more economic and educational opportunities,” Torres said.

The students discussed the unique relationship between the United States and the CNMI through the Covenant, and the possibilities for Asia-Pacific partnership.

First-time exchange student Harry Wang said the program is a great opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture of the islands.

“It’s truly a pleasure to understand the work of the police, customs, and the governor’s office—laboring together to protect this peaceful land. No doubt that people who live here have experienced terrible challenges, but they welcome these challenges with nothing but their courage and kindness. The people here have survived Spain’s colonization, withstood Germany’s control, and stood in the most destructive wars in our history; and stood strong in typhoons and they’ve only gotten stronger and continue to thrive,” Wang said.

For the second time around, siblings Marissa and Macardle Meng returned to the program and toured the neighboring island of Tinian.

Macardle, who will be finishing high school in New York, highlighted that during the experience of visiting the Department of Public Safety, Division of Customs, and the Office of the Governor, he gained a lot of insight into the effects of tourism in the Commonwealth.

“I was able to assist and help translate information for arrivals of international flights. Through further conversations, I learned about some of the issues related to the safety of the island. Due to the massive amount of foreign visitors and car rental companies, extra safety precautions must be taken, especially since stop signs are not universal to every country in the world,” Macardle said.

Macardle also shared his views on the economic differences between Hong Kong and mainland China and its overall influence on culture and national identity.

The six students who took part in the exchange program are Meilin Guo, Yun Huang, Yvonne Yin, Macardle Meng, Marissa Meng, and Harry Wang and was facilitated in partnership with Bridge Investment Group and Tinian Municipal Council member Philip Mendiola-Long. (PR)

The six students who took part in the exchange program pose with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres at the Office of the Governor during a recent visit. (Contributed Photo)

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