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NANJING
FOREIGN LANGUAGES SCHOOL

International Exchange during the Pandemic

Dear teachers and students, good morning. I'm Qi Ziheng from Class 3, Senior 2. The theme of this morning meeting is International Exchange during the Pandemic.

1

NFLS has a long tradition of holding international exchange activities, and this year is no exception. However, due to the pandemic at the beginning of the year, some of exchange activities originally scheduled for offline were changed to online. In this special year, we all work together to fight the pandemic. In this new form of activity, the students of NFLS showed adaptability and leadership, which ensured the smooth development of the activity. The activities carried out this year are Ricci Young Scholars Program, Japan-China High School Students Online Exchange Conference and International Youth Online Exchange Conference.

First of all, let's invite the student representatives to talk about their feelings.

Hello, my name is Yuan Rong, Class 6, Senior 2 and I am a member of the political group of Ricci Young Scholars Program.

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The Ricci Young Scholars Program aims to strengthen the communication between Chinese and American teenagers. It was founded by Regis High School, a top private school for boys in New York, and our school, Nanjing Foreign Language School. It is also a youth exchange program specially set up by Jiangsu provincial government and New York state government to celebrate the third anniversary of friendly provincial state relations.

It was scheduled that during the two weeks from the end of June to the beginning of July in 2020, ten members from each group would jointly complete the theme activities in Nanjing and finally complete the final report of the program. Since Regis is a boys’ school, only male students were originally included in the program. Later, when the pandemic stopped the plan, it had to be held online.

The change made it possible for more members to join. The program absorbed girls, and united with the American Dominica Academy Girls' School, which expanded its membership to about 40. The program also benefited from the help of all sectors of society, including Tom moebus, who returned to Regis after 55 years, Professor Qi Lingling of Nanjing University, Liu fan, a teacher of the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office.

During the two-week zoom meeting, we exchanged views on the differences between China and the United States in politics, economy and industrialization, showed the characteristics and advantages of the two countries, and rationally and dialectically considered the similarities and differences between the two countries. Our political and practical discussions mainly include the election of the United States, the control of the pandemic, and the differences of political ideas between China and the United States. It can be said what we discussed was very objective and I will not repeat the specific content here.

It can be said that at the beginning, everyone was very restrained. Across the screen, there was often a "cold" phenomenon. Thanks to Preston of Regis School in our group, he was very active every time and took care of the "embarrassment" of each student. He encouraged us to actively develop our ideas. At the same time, he also brought a lot of interesting ideas. We called him "Sparks of Inspiration". He was not only burning himself, but also illuminating others.

Zhou Yanlin and I are old friends. During the whole process of the first meeting we privately chatted on Wechat behind the screen. The basic content was: "well, I think so too. It's very reasonable! You talk, you talk" "No, you say, you say" such mutual "disengagement". The main reason is that we don't feel confident about our abilities of speaking English. But later, everyone was released. As a matter of fact, the students here should not be shy when they want to express their opinions. If an American student share his views about American politics in Chinese, will you listen carefully and applaud? In fact, American students also think so.

A lot of people think American students are very confident when they express their views of points. We also thought so in the process of the program. There may be some elements of "language" and "letter", but more importantly, they should be willing to share their views with others. At the same time, they also listened carefully when they expressed their feelings. They believed that everyone could do better if they were given more encouragement.

We also hope that students can express ourselves, let the world hear our voice, show more what we have, feel more confident about our views and abilities of speaking English, publicize our excellent aspects and let the world hear the voice of China.

What Yuan Rong talked about just now are very real details. Next, I would like to share a phenomenon we encountered in the activity: The understanding of each other is not equal. After several sessions, both teachers and students felt this phenomenon. Both groups have known about the president's election and students' views on the presidential election. However, when some of our Chinese students spoke of some of the most basic Chinese systems, the American students knew little or even nothing about it.

In view of this situation, we decided to do something. Through e-mail, the Chinese tutor, Professor Qi from Nanjing University, shared some material on China's political system and political thoughts with American students. After a meeting and discussion, the Chinese students decided to add a meeting before the final presentation. We will introduce some basic Chinese political systems and concepts to American students. The sharing was very successful. The American students said that they had gained a lot and resolved some previous achievements and misunderstandings. Inspired by this, an American student gave us a similar introduction to American political history and thought in the following session.

I think this is the significance of the Ricci Young Scholars Program. We should try our best to abandon the stereotype of "stereotype" and preconception, and open up to understand people's real thoughts in different cultures and systems. Perhaps our efforts are insignificant in the macro view, but these subtle changes will bring about the impact that cannot be ignored, like ripples. Everything has a beginning and a process. The first step to eliminate the gap is to open your heart and make changes. I wish you and I can understand and empathize with each other better.

Thanks to Yuan Rong and Zhou Yanlin for their speeches. Through their speeches, I believe everyone has a full understanding of the Ricci Young Scholars Program. Now let's invite Cheng Xueling, who attended the International Youth Online Exchange Conference, to share her experience with you

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Hello, everyone. I'm Cheng Xueling from Class 6, Senior 1. The theme of my speech today is "the Values of Youth Development during the Pandemic.”

This time, I participated in the International Youth Online Exchange Conference, and communicated with young people from the United States, Russia, India and Bhutan about the impact of the pandemic on their personal life. We were randomly divided into groups and had a heated discussion for about 40 minutes. Through the discussion, I found that the pandemic has brought great changes to our life and learning, but also made our values have been developed in many aspects. I will use the experience of online communication to illustrate the development of values brought about by the pandemic.

First of all, the pandemic let us learn to cherish. The pandemic is so fierce that all people's life is suddenly pressed the pause button, and then re coded, output and run. Craig, an American student, talked about his grandmother in Mississippi, who had not met for a long time and missed her very much. Maylyn, an Indian student, said that although she could chat with her friends by voice every day, she missed the face-to-face and warm campus life. At that time, our school had just finished the sports meeting. After hearing about it, she expressed her admiration and sighed. The pandemic has taught us the importance of certain things that we used to take for granted such as family and friends. The pandemic has taught us to cherish even the most ordinary things. Home quarantine will distance ourselves from each other, and each of us is more like a spring, the farther we are pulled away from each other, the more we feel the existence of each other cannot be ignored, and learn to cherish these emotional ties.

Secondly, the pandemic has allowed us to explore ourselves. The daily life environment with few variables allows us to know ourselves from a specific perspective. While the pandemic keeps us at home, it also provides a new environment for us to explore more possibilities of life. I introduced that during the period of home quarantine, I learned how to cook and bake simply, and tasted the happiness of "do it yourself, eat and clothe yourself". Sara says she adopted a pet and since then she has learned to love and give, most of her learning was about being more giving. The pandemic has forced changes in our living environment, prompting us to explore more potential. And this also inspires us that we can also have the courage to try in our daily routine life, not stick to people's settings, and make ourselves look new every day

Finally, the pandemic has made us aware of the relevance of human destiny. A Russian classmate wrote such an inspiring sentence on the message wall: Unity keeps us standing. Indeed, this pandemic has enabled us to look beyond national boundaries and into a broader world, and truly feel the common destiny of mankind in the same breath. At the beginning, all the students in the group were interested in the home life of young people in other countries. After discussion, we found that, except for the slight differences, our life was generally similar - online classes, chatting with family and friends, cultivating interests and watching news. This makes us have a cordial and resonance. Although we are all around the world, we are experiencing common difficulties, common troubles, common surprises and joint efforts. Online communication helps us to establish spiritual ties, to face difficulties optimistically and bravely, and to deepen our understanding of the community with a shared future for mankind. When everyone actively deals with everything brought about by the pandemic in his own way, we are fighting side by side, breaking through the gap of regional culture.

Although the pandemic has made us experience a major disaster, it has also enriched our meager experience and enriched the connotation of our values. We have learned to cherish all the dull and warm details in life, and learned to explore ourselves. Online communication provides a good platform that is not limited by geographical factors, which makes us realize the power of human beings as a whole. I hope that students can also seize the opportunity of international exchange, broaden their horizons and enrich their cognition. Thank you very much!

Thank you for your wonderful speeches. In addition, the Japan-China High School Students Online Exchange Conference is also going on smoothly. This exchange is an online dialogue between Chinese and Japanese students conducted by our school and Xiangyang University in Okinawa, Japan. The event will be held for five times to discuss topics of interest and deepen the understanding and appreciation of the two countries' cultures. The pandemic cannot stop our enthusiasm for innovation and the deepening of international exchanges. The students' spirit of fighting the pandemic and communicating is worth learning. A new year is coming, and the ill -fated 2020 is about to become the past. When winter comes, can spring be far behind? Let's fight for the future!