Students travel to Shanghai


Students hold handmade indigo-dyed fabrics and cloths in the village of Wu Zhen. Printed with permission of Adele Chi.

Kamala Durairaj

Four Chinese language students interned in Shanghai and attended the World Leading Schools Association conference this summer.
Jack Borris ’18, Izzy Reiff ’18, Strauss Cooperstein ’18 and Diego Ayala ’18 lived with host families for the duration of their internships at the Shanghai office of the Parthenon Group. Students applied for the internship through the WLSA, a non-profit organization founded by a group of American high schools, including Harvard-Westlake, and Chinese secondary schools. The organization aims to foster collaboration between “institutes of higher education around the world”, according to the WLSA website.
“I feel that I gained a lot from the internship, mainly time management skills and insight into the challenges and rewards of conducting business between the U.S. and China,” Borris said.
After the students’ internships were over each day, they were able to spend time with their host families and visit various locations throughout the city. Some students were able to take weekend trips with their host families, traveling by high-speed rail to the Hangzhou and Nanjing provinces.
“The most meaningful learning experience, and the one I will remember most, was living with my host family,” Ayala said. “I bonded with my host family over the course of my stay, and living with them gave me insights into Chinese culture and the nature of everyday life in China while also allowing me to practice my Chinese.”
In addition to the students who interned, 13 other students attended WLSA’s “A Sustainable Future” conference July 4-10 in Shanghai, accompanied by Upper School Deans Jamie Chan and Celso Cardenas.
“It’s great for our students to be able to expand their knowledge base and see what it means [to be a student leader] in other countries and to other global students,” Cardenas said.
WLSA holds conferences every two years, and in 2014 Harvard-Westlake hosted the first conference at UCLA. This year the conference centered on the themes of environmental sustainability and leadership. Students attended workshops, gave presentations and went on cultural trips to the Yu Gardens and the Bund.
“My favorite part about the conference is the fact that I had a rare opportunity to meet people from all around the world, such as South Africa, the Netherlands and England,” conference attendee Adele Chi ’18 said. “Being able to mingle and interact with people from all walks of life exposed me to different cultures and perspectives.”