Mandarin Students Impress in China
Mandarin Students Impress in China

Two high school students who traveled to China to take part in a debate won praise for their Mandarin language skills.

Before the Thanksgiving break, two higher-level International Baccalaureate Mandarin students and their teacher, Hong Yao, traveled to Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, for a weeklong trip that included a two-day debate, visits to cultural sites and homestays with local families. 

Sophomore Madison Kwan and junior Eon Kounalakis represented San Francisco in the Chengdu-U.S. Sister Cities Youth Debate Challenge that brought together students from Chengdu-area schools and teams from 12 U.S. sister and friendship cities to debate the topic, "What is more important: shaping personality or cultivating knowledge?"

Madison and Eon reflect on the trip and explain how audiences reacted to hearing them speak Mandarin.

Convent & Stuart Hall was invited by the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to send a delegation, and students were selected based on their language fluency and availability. Designed to encourage cultural and educational communication between Chengdu and U.S. cities, the program also provided a rare immersion opportunity for Madison and Eon to test, practice and develop their Mandarin speaking skills. 

Learn more: Read first-hand accounts of the trip on the Convent & Stuart Hall Travel Blog.

Photo by: Chunjiang