Despite the record-breaking winter that paralyzed many regions in North America, more than 300 high school students from different schools across China managed to navigate through the harsh snow storms and enjoyed a fruitful trip to the U.S. through our Polaris program. The Polaris program is an intensive academic and cultural immersion experience designed for Chinese students from grade 9 to 12. Each winter, Polaris participants embark on a 14-day journey to improve English language skills, understand cultural differences, and develop global awareness. Through a series of carefully designed activities, we aim at enhancing students’ competence and confidence in an increasingly global society.
Historic Sites and Sightseeing
In order to understand the culture and society of the United States, it is essential to explore the historic legacies that have been shaping the present. During the Polaris program, not only did students witness atop the Empire State Building the impressive architectures resulted from the economic boom in New York, they also traced the footsteps of founding fathers as well as civil rights leaders in Boston and Washington, D.C., to contemplate the trends and influences leading to the cultural diversity and pluralism in today’s American society.
At Polaris, participants had precious opportunity to interact directly with current college students and admission officers. They gained insider knowledge about the application process as well as the academic and social aspects of college life. College visits inspired students to pursue college education in world-class institutions in the U.S., and could better prepare them for the upcoming challenges in the application process.
High School Exchange
Comparisons between secondary education in China and the U.S. have long been the focus of many education researchers, and through the Alpha exChange platform (link) we help to establish partnerships between Chinese and American high schools for education practitioners to learn from each other. At Polaris, Chinese students and teachers experienced firsthand the participatory and collaborative approaches in American high schools, while bringing unique perspectives to the classrooms. In return, American high schools may organize exchange programs to China to strengthen the partnership with Chinese high schools. Learn more – (link to Trinity China trip)
Model United Nations
Each Polaris program ends with a Model United Nations conference, where students’ language skills, academic aptitude, and cultural adaptability are fully challenged. This year, our participants competed with outstanding peers from all over the world. Although the majority of participants might feel intimated to speak English in public, they still rose to the challenge and overcame a steep learning curve. This experience made them more confident, competitive, and ambitious, all of which are important qualities for future leaders.