SPP Staff Ventures to China

St. Paul Prep staff members, Laurel Orman (Admissions and Marketing) and Andrea Schiebe (Special Projects and Communication) had the opportunity to teach ACT English preparation for 2 weeks this summer at Yali School in Changsha, China. Their goal was to prepare students for taking the ACT as well as to gain insight into the Chinese education system and daily life. Their hope is to bring their knowledge and experience back to SPP so as to better reach the Chinese student population at St. Paul Prep.

Both staff members found the experience to be valuable both personally and professionally. As first-time visitors to China, culture-shock was immediate. For Laurel, even walking around the city was a challenge. “I couldn’t understand the signs and advertisements, not to mention the different cultural norms for traffic.” In addition to experiencing and living in another culture, Laurel and Andrea developed a better understanding of the Chinese education system. Laurel explained that “in writing class, we focused a lot on thesis statements and paragraph structures. Because the languages are so fundamentally different, this structure that is second nature to many native-English speakers is something that was very challenging for some of the students to learn.”

Both Laurel and Andrea were very grateful to have the opportunity to travel to China.  Andrea reflected on the trip, “I am thankful for the opportunity I had to take part in this experience of teaching in China. It expanded my appreciation and sensitivity to a beautiful culture. I made wonderful relationships and beautiful memories with new friends abroad. I value the sincerity of those who reached out and helped me feel at ‘home,’ as I hope we are able to do for our students at SPP.”

Yali was founded by the Yale-China Association and has no affiliation with St. Paul Preparatory School or the Nacel International School System.

Andrea middle row left, Laurel middle row right


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Nacel Open Door

Nacel Open Door, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to international understanding and language education.

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