Project Information

The aim of the program in Xiuning is to increase the understanding and strengthen the friendship between the people of China and the people of the United States of America. By traveling to China, you will have a special opportunity to learn about and develop respect for Chinese culture. At the same time, we will provide a similar opportunity for the students of Xiuning to learn about American culture. The knowledge and abilities cultivated by this project will be more and more useful and important as cooperation between China and the United States of America continues to increase.

The activities of the Cultural Exchange will be planned primarily for young people; therefore, most Local Participants will be middle school and primary school students of Xiuning County. Local Participants will sign up for each activity. Depending on the nature of the activity, 20-50 students will be able to participate in each activity at one time. Other members of the Xiuning community will be welcome to participate in certain activities. Depending on the needs of the Xiuning community, this may include medical, business, environmental, or other related activities. (Local Participants will not include students entering the Senior 3 year of middle school.)

The primary location for the Cultural Exchange activities will be the campus of Xiuning Middle School. The facilities to be used include the basketball courts, running track, and field; the student canteen; the English Library; the Oral English classrooms; the music classroom; and 5-6 other classrooms. It is very likely that there will be other sites as well which will be decided during the coming months.

We encourage you to share your particular talents and passions with the local community! Specialized skills are not required for most projects on the Service Tour. Keep in mind that if you wish to work on the construction project, there is physical labor involved. Each project will engage a leadership team of volunteers with specialized knowledge in the project area, as well as bilingual volunteers to serve as interpreters (as needed). Project assignments will be based on a combination of volunteer interest, community needs, available space, and program logistics. The final list of activities will be determined by your expertise and the expertise of our entire group. Once the list of participants is determined, a proposed list of activities and facilities will be sent to Xiuning Middle School for approval by school and county officials. This list will be sent in March, 2011.

Our volunteers will be divided into project teams of no more than 30 per team with Yale-China Teaching Fellows as interpreters and volunteer project leaders.

Projects that are under consideration include:

Medical — The Global Health Leadership Institute at Yale University may coordinate with the local People’s Hospital to invite hospital administrators to train in Beijing in spring 2011. If this is the case, our medical team may work with these administrators and selected participants to offer training and consultation activities for medical staff in Xiuning County hospitals. Our alumni nurses, physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists may have the opportunity to provide clinical and diagnostic services in the community. Medical volunteers will provide consultation and training sessions for local medical professionals and may have the opportunity to focus on community health education and clinical home/community assessment as well as support for specific families. 

Creative arts —Volunteers will offer an intensive children’s program and adult classes in areas such as music, dance, crafts, visual art, literacy, creative writing, and theater.  The specific design of the educational program will depend on the skills and interests of volunteers who participate in this project. Puneet Batra has offered to organize a photography project for the children. This is an ideal opportunity to release your creative energies! Local Participants will be invited to share their own skills and talents with the our group in performances during the week and in a special event at the conclusion of the program.

Small business consulting —Volunteers with a background in marketing, design, asset building, or related fields will have the opportunity to work with adults who are eager to learn small business management skills. Our business volunteers will teach local clients strategies to manage their companies and work competitively at selling their goods and services in the local marketplace.

Educational enrichment —Volunteers will offer tutoring and workshops for both children and adults in a wide range of subjects. The children are eager to learn English and other foreign languages. Many of the adults in the community may want to learn everything from cooking to sewing skills, basic carpentry, and crafts. On previous Service Tours, educational programs included martial arts, cooking classes, yoga and stress management, jewelry-making, origami, and more.

Construction —Volunteers will work alongside our local partners on light construction projects on the school campus such as building sets for dramatic productions, enhancing sports facilities and improving school buildings.

Athletics —Join coaches and kids, who will work with alumni volunteers to conduct exciting sports camps for children and teens. We would like to have basketball, baseball and soccer camps. And perhaps we will learn some ping pong. Athletic activities will run as half day activities.

Note that we expect volunteers to work in groups of 30 or fewer people to plan and execute each different activity. The activities will contain no political, religious, immoral, or sensitive content.