Featured Story

Mandarin Students Explore Chinatown

Jingjing Lai, Upper School Mandarin Teacher
One of the best ways to learn a language is to go out into the world and use it! In late October, Mandarin III and IV students participated in a field trip to Manhattan’s Chinatown, where they practiced their Mandarin and experienced the area’s thriving, vibrant history and culture.

Our first stop on our field trip was a bustling Chinese supermarket, which was an eye-opening experience for many students. Mandarin III student Atara Loewenberg ’24 shared, “Walking around the supermarket was unlike anything I had ever experienced before…It was very interesting to see the different foods and how they were presented.” After they made their way through the busy market, students were asked probing questions about their experience, such as: What did you observe? What other countries share the same cultural practices? What kind of cultural perspectives and values do those practices embody? 

After the supermarket, we visited a food court, where students used their Mandarin language skills to order authentic Chinese food. The most popular orders were barbecue pork buns and dim sum, a Cantonese-style cuisine traditionally served for brunch. Our last stop was Pearl River Market, an iconic Asian emporium that features both imported goods and innovative merchandise designed and created by Asian Americans. 

Back on campus, students read the article, “History of Chinatown,” to learn more about the history of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Students connected the information from the article with what they experienced firsthand during the field trip. Mandarin III student Patrick Regan ’24 shared, “Chinatown is made up of people from so many different places, like Hong Kong and Taiwan, for example, so it is amazing to see how they all come together to form a community.”

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