Sasha Obama took trip to China

Updated: 2015-03-31 11:58

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

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Sasha Obama took trip to China

Students from the Washington-based Sidwell Friends School try on Beijing Opera masks during their one-week trip to Beijing from March 15. [Provided to China Daily]

The US president's daughter Sasha Obama and the vice-president's granddaughter Maisy Biden toured China through a school program earlier this month.

Twenty-one students from the Washington-based Sidwell Friends School joined the China Minimester trek, an annual one-week trip to Beijing, on March 15 to "explore the historical wonders and modern complexities of China", Ellis Turner, associate head at the school, told China Daily on Monday.

Many children and grandchildren of US politicians have participated in the middle school's travel program, which has existed for more than 30 years.

China's historical spots and modern hubs were included in the schedule, such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Bird's Nest Stadium and the Water Cube, Turner said.

Turner said the group also "ventured out of the city to the Great Wall of China, took a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs, attended an amazing acrobatics show, and feasted on Peking duck".

Fei Reed, a Chinese teacher at Sidwell and the China Minimester trek co-leader since 2005, said "the goal is to expose students to Chinese culture and traditions".

Kurt Campbell, chairman and CEO of The Asia Group, shared his experiences in China at an earlier gathering.

"You never want to say that you 'like' something while in the home of your host family, because they will literally give it to you," he said. "If you say you like their shirt, they will take it off and give it to you. Instead, you can say it's nice."

Sidwell, a PK-12, co-educational Quaker day school, has had an extensive Chinese studies program since 1983, with the John Fisher Zeidman '79 Chinese Studies Fund in memory of the school's 1979 graduate who devoted his life to the study of China.

The program "has grown significantly to include curricula in all divisions and multiple disciplines, long-term exchanges between Sidwell Friends and China, short-term travel to China and the rest of Asia, significant faculty professional development, community events, and outreach to area schools", according to the school.

"I think the language training and exchange program is important for the students," Leigh Gilman, language department chair of the Sidwell Friends' upper school, told China Daily.

"We were all hypnotized as we left the theater, and will probably continue to be amazed by both the acrobats' skill and devotion for many years to come," said a student, Sarah, who went on the trip. She was impressed by the "dazzling costumes" of the acrobats at the Chaoyang Theatre.

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.