Camp delivers authentic China

Updated: 2014-07-01 11:38

By May Zhou in Houston (China Daily USA)

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What a better way to learn about a foreign culture than from the people who live and breathe it every day.

 Camp delivers authentic China

Zhang Chuanbing (fourth from left), deputy consul general in Houston, and Zhou Hong (fifth from left), deputy director general of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China, open the week-long summer camp along with teachers and students of Hua Xia Chinese School in Houston on Monday. May Zhou / China Daily

That's the idea behind the Chinese Cultural Land summer camp, a week-long program sponsored by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) of the State Council of China, which officially opened Monday morning at Houston's Hua Xia Chinese School (HXCS).

More than 200 children aged 5 and above will now have the opportunity to learn various aspects of Chinese culture from 12 teachers sent by OCAO of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. The topics include Chinese martial arts, music and instruments, painting, calligraphy and crafts.

According to Zhang Chuanbin, deputy consul general in Houston, the consulate general helped get the camp to come over to Houston.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the education of overseas Chinese children," Zhang said. "OCAO has always been very supportive of Hua Xia by providing funds, teaching materials and teaching personnel through the years."

Zhou Hong, deputy director general of OCAO of the State Council, said that by talking to some kids at Hua Xia, he was pleased to find that they had a good grasp of Chinese language skills.

"China and the US are ever expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation, and we need more people who understand both the US and Chinese cultures," Zhou said.

According to Zhou, OCAO has been organizing Seeking Chinese Cultural Root summer camp and inviting US middle school and high school students to visit China every summer for years.

Starting in 2011, OCAO began bringing the camp to the US to reach more and younger children. This year, three such camps are being held in the US - Houston, Los Angeles and Washington.

Jennifer Quan, former principal of HXCS, said that one of the biggest advantages of such a program is that kids get to learn Chinese culture in its native flavor.

"We specifically requested those programs - painting, calligraphy, martial arts, paper cutting and cucurbit flute - and we are happy that OCAO delivered all of them," Quan said. "Our school normally focuses on the Chinese language itself, but for summer camp, we want to focus on the Chinese cultural content and essence."

At the opening ceremony, 12 teachers performed, singing, playing the cucurbit flute, demonstrating martial arts and dance for the children.

Miles McKenzie, an 11-year-old student whose mother is Chinese, said that this was the second time he has participated in Chinese Cultural Land summer camp.

"Last year I read a poem with another girl, we sang and we did drawing. Chinese teachers from China are really good at teaching," McKenzie said, adding that the Chinese culture was really ancient and passed down through many generations.

To him, "that makes it very unique", said he.


(China Daily USA 07/01/2014 page2)