Students Immersed in Global Education: St. Luke’s Tours Taiwan
St. Luke’s Mandarin students recently toured a Taiwanese night market, thanks to the Center for Leadership’s Global Education department’s partnership with Real China, an educational travel company. Both Middle School and Upper School Mandarin students in Gavin Immer and Jingjing Lai’s classes experienced the tour in real time as a staff member at Real China livestreamed his walk through the market, chatting with vendors and ordering different foods along the way. The live format gave students the chance to immerse themselves fully in the culture and language.
“Students loved the opportunity to see and experience Taiwan virtually and are already trying to figure out when they can visit in person,” said Global Education Director Beth Yavenditti.
Gavin Immer shared what the experience was like for his students: “For many of the students, this was their first live glimpse into Asia. All of the sights and sounds were new and fascinating, and they loved seeing up close what Taiwanese locals eat during a night on the town. Students were also able to practice conversing in Mandarin with the shop owners. Some of the students were nervous at first, but their nerves dissipated when, after their successful exchange of Mandarin words, they were met with resounding applause from classmates. We all felt like we were right there with the tour guide as he walked around a bustling bazaar filled with authentic Taiwanese delicacies. Students even got to see Taiwanese currency for the first time and were fascinated by the exchange rate of one U.S. dollar equaling 30 Taiwanese dollars.”
“It was an awesome opportunity for students to interact with Taiwanese locals and observe cultural practices that might be different from their own,” shared Jingjing Lai. “When the vendors learned that our students were studying Chinese, they took the time from their busy work at the night market to have conversations with our students.” In turn, St. Luke’s students were amazed by how welcoming the vendors were. “I thought it was interesting how many store owners were willing to answer questions while they were still working. I don’t think many store owners here would be willing to do that,” said Audrey Magnusen, a student in Honors Mandarin IV.
In reflecting on the experience, Honors Mandarin IV student Emma Herdeg said, “I noticed that there were a ton of people out late at this night market on just a regular day, which I think is very different from our culture. It was also cool to see how the different food stands had been owned by families for generations and are an integral part of their lives.”
St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.