NBA megastar Kobe Bryant recently met with a group of American high school students at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai.
These eleven students are in China to study Mandarin and Chinese culture through the Los Angeles “After-School All-Stars” program, a non-profit that is supported by the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.
Their 2-week study tour was organized by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the UCLA Confucius Institute, who have supported at total of 52 students from L.A. and Tuscon, Ariz. on a China trip this summer!
During his remarks to the students, Bryant explained why he supports programs like the After-School All-Stars and other groups which support the opportunity for study abroad. He told the students that his own experience living overseas as a child allowed him to experience and understand another culture and broaden his horizons beyond his American hometown. Bryant noted: “I just want our youth to have the same feelings I had growing up.”
For Josué Mendoza, a student from South Los Angeles, this is his first trip overseas – and he couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. The son of a housekeeper and an electrician, Mendoza said he couldn’t have afforded to travel to China on his own. “In South Central, we don’t get much exposure to Chinese culture, so this is opportunity is really amazing for me,” says Josué. He also happens to be an aspiring expert in international relations: “It will be very helpful to know Mandarin, because I want to major in linguistics and international studies.” He plans to enroll at UC Santa Cruz this fall.
For more information about the UCLA Confucius Institute, check out the story here.
Photo courtesy of UCLA.