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Cultivating China-US youth bonds

Updated: 2024-06-19 06:45 ( China Daily )
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Young representatives from China and the US attends a concert at Beijing's Century Theater on June 12. [Photo provided to China Daily]

From June 12 to 14, a group of young representatives from both China and the United States gathered in Beijing for the China-US Youth Exchange Program with the theme "Bridge of the Future".

During the three-day event, these young people immersed themselves in a comprehensive experience of China from the past to the present.

On the first day, they were divided into two groups: one group visited the Great Wall, while the other explored the Palace Museum, guided by an English-speaking tour guide. The young representatives even tried out the iconic "Palace Museum" ice cream.

Aurora Moore, 15, a high school student from California who went on this route, expressed her delight, saying, "I'm very happy to be here. It's super beautiful and it's amazing to see what Chinese people could make hundreds of years ago."

In addition to the architecture, Moore also highlighted the warm hospitality of the locals she encountered. Throughout her visit to China, she wore a hat with a fan that she had bought in a US shopping mall, which is also a popular item in China. "All the people I've met are very sweet and they really liked my hat," she said.

Jake Munzaa, 16, another member of the Palace Museum group, also experienced the hospitable nature of the Chinese people. Eager and curious, Munzaa greeted every Chinese passerby who smiled at him. He and his friends even engaged in a conversation with a group of elementary school students from Hong Kong while waiting in line. As soon as Munzaa discovered they could speak English, he began recommending cities they should visit if they travel to the US.

"I love the community as a whole and I love how everybody here is so connected. They're all respectful and kind," said Munzaa.

He expressed his desire to learn the Chinese phrase "Nice to meet you; I'm Jake" as a way to show his gratitude.

On the second day of their Beijing trip, some representatives had the chance to visit the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center. Many were amazed by how these facilities are seamlessly integrated into the lives of the people in Beijing.

"You hear about all these huge cities hosting the Olympics. There's a lot of concern about them being wasted after huge infrastructure investments. But based on everything we've seen so far, Beijing is making great use of these facilities. Considering they have been in operation since 2008, it's impressive," said Maxwell Bergen, a 20-year-old student at Duke Kunshan University in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province.

This is Bergen's second year in China and his second visit to Beijing. "It's very refreshing to be in Beijing again with a diverse group," he said. "The country continues to impress me. I think the overall hospitality of China and the welcoming nature of the whole program have been the most outstanding features."

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