American youth experience colorful activities and foster friendships in Fuzhou

On July 7, approximately 180 American teenagers participating in the "Shared Journey of Friendship" U.S. Youth Exchange Delegation visited schools in Fuzhou, Fujian province. Through a series of vibrant activities, they connected with Chinese students and laid the groundwork for lasting friendships.

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Chinese and American students, dressed in Hanfu, pose for a photo in Fuzhou, Fujian province on July 7, 2024. [Photo/]

At the Affiliated High School of Fuzhou Institute of Education (FIE), 38 students from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, were warmly welcomed by their Chinese peers. The American students were greeted with friendly faces, and the interaction quickly blossomed into lively conversations as they explored the school together.

The visitors were thrilled to see photos documenting the longstanding friendship between the two schools, which has been nurtured for over 16 years. They watched together some traditional Chinese performances in the school auditorium, including Pipa music, Fujian opera, martial arts, and Hanfu fashion shows.

One of the visiting students, visiting China for the first time, expressed excitement and a sense of familiarity with the cultural performances. They also exchanged some gifts, such as hairpins and origami cranes to symbolize their budding friendship.

Later in the day, at Fuzhou No. 8 School, the sounds of chisels and woodwork filled the general technology classroom as Chinese and American students collaborated in creating the Luban lock, a traditional Chinese puzzle. Under the supervision of a teacher, the students worked together, and the American participants marveled at the techniques involved in Chinese woodworking.

In a separate activity, they formed teams, sharing their cultural experiences and forming friendships they hoped would continue beyond the exchange.

At Fuzhou Senior High School, a lively baseball game was held to help bridge the gap between Chinese and American youths, sparking numerous conversations. However, it was their shared experience of making dumplings—to symbolize peace and unity—that truly strengthened their bonds. The visiting teenagers enjoyed learning how to make dumplings and savoring it.

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An American student and her Chinese peer showcase their calligraphy work of the Chinese phrase "friend", created with brush pens, as a testament to their friendship in Fuzhou, Fujian province on July 7, 2024. [Photo provided to]

In the afternoon, Fuzhou Jinshan Middle School hosted a series of cultural activities, including a guzheng performance of "Jasmine Flower", calligraphy, paper cutting, and pottery. The American students were captivated by the performances and engaged in hands-on activities, pairing up with their Chinese counterparts to write calligraphy, exchange gifts, and share experiences.

One of the American students crafted a beautiful clay bowl as a symbol of friendship, which was preserved at the school after firing. As the day drew to a close, students exchanged contact information, ensuring that the friendships formed would continue to flourish beyond their visit.

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