Building Global Citizens: Beijing Trip

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Mark Twain's notion of travel is especially relevant to the two students I'm trying to send to China this summer.

The majority of our students have never left the city of Chicago, much less taken a train 20 minutes in a new direction to explore a different neighborhood. Although Chicago is a beautiful and diverse city, our students rarely experience that aspect; they live in homogeneous neighborhoods riddled with drugs and violence. Domestic travel is a novelty for many and international travel is a rarity for most. In order to grow into global citizens and develop their skills to compete against their peers around the world, our students need to experience other cultures. Every summer, we try to offer a wide variety of learning and enrichment opportunities to our students. This is the second year that our students are able to take part in the program. Not only are we the only school at the program representing Chicago, we are the only school representing the United States.


The Beijing International Student Exchange Program is a unique experience for students from all around the world. During the camp, students stay in dorm rooms on the campus of a Chinese private school with other students from around the world. They have the opportunity to visit sites in and around Beijing and learn about Chinese language and culture. Accommodations, meals, tours, and cultural experiences during the trip are all fully funded; our students are only required to pay for airfare and travel documents.


Travel opens people's eyes to new cultures, creates global citizens, and teaches humanity and understanding. Our students are rarely given the opportunity to travel domestically or internationally; the Beijing International Student Exchange Program offers them that chance.

Travel impacts lives in a way that nothing else can; you have the ability to create that impact.

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  • Andrew Schmitz 
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Organizer

Jen Allen 
Organizer
Chicago, IL
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