Sharing Culture Through Theater with Beyond Borders at the Project Pengyou Courtyard

by Project Pengyou on February 28th, 2017   464 views

Language barriers aren’t the only scary thing about living abroad – navigating small talk, slang, and subtle body language cues can all be difficult pitfalls for international students in America for the first time. We partnered with Beyond Borders: Linking Our Stories, a cross-cultural theater workshop aimed at preparing Chinese high schoolers to navigate those cultural subtleties in the U.S..

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Language barriers aren’t the only scary thing about living abroad – navigating small talk, slang, and subtle body language cues can all be difficult pitfalls for international students in America for the first time. We partnered with Beyond Borders: Linking Our Stories, a cross-cultural theater workshop aimed at preparing Chinese high schoolers to navigate those cultural subtleties in the U.S..

For five days, 8 internationally-bound Chinese high school students met with workshop organizers, Jun Chen and Dr. Kanta Kohhar-Lindgren, at the Project Pengyou courtyard to learn communication and collaboration skills that would help them succeed as cross-cultural communicators in the United States. Students developed their skills by conducting a storytelling and art project that benefits both international communities in Beijing and themselves.

Check out some of the photo highlights below:


 

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“I learned a lot from this experience. I made friends who come from different countries, and I recognized it’s good for me to know different cultures in preparation for study abroad. In addition, I have a new understanding of communication. Communication is not only oral, but also includes eye contact, body language and gestures.

What impressed me most was learning about meditation. It is a good way to reach a higher state of consciousness and a way of communicating with yourself.” – Sara Zhou

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“On the second day, we played theater games with people of different countries. We focused on nonverbal expressions across cultures, script analysis and held a play rehearsal. We shared a lot about cultural differences and how to express our ideas better in a cross-cultural setting, and I realized that being shy and afraid of making mistakes is the biggest communication barrier. If we communicate with openness and curiosity, cultural differences can be a good topic to open up a conversation.” – Luna Zhang

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“Performing the stories of my foreign friends and my classmates helped me related to them in a deeper way. I realized that empathy is crucial in communication.” – Raven Zhao


Through field trips, interviews, and interactive games, future international Chinese students worked to establish a dialogue with foreign communities in Beijing and build mutual understanding. The event culminated in a cabaret performance at the Beijing drum tower theater including comedy and dance.

We were thrilled to work with Beyond Borders in supporting such a great program, and we hope to work with them again in the future!

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About the organizers:

The Program was co-organized by Jun Chen and Dr. Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren. Jun Chen served as the program manager of Future City Competition, a leading international teenage competition in design and engineering, in China during 2014-2016 and received a master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington. Dr. Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren is a U.S. citizen and was an Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She lives in Hong Kong part time and serves as the Director of Folded Paper Dance and Theatre (Seattle/Hong Kong) which focuses on cross-cultural performances. The project team partner with Shunshun Education, affiliated to TAL Education Group which is a leading K-12 after school tutoring services provider in China, to recruit students. The project includes initial online preparation and a 5 day winter camp in Beijing.

 


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