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A traveling language


Junior Robert Snipes traveled to Shanghai, China from a passion of learning Chinese.

Languages are the connections that unite the world, and for Robert Snipes, a PRHS junior, his passion of learning Chinese was put to the test. On July 8, 2018, Snipes traveled to Shanghai, China for two months under the Council on International Education Exchange.

“When I got accepted, I got really excited. I didn’t believe it at first, but it made me really happy to know I was going on a trip that important,” Snipes recalled. His interest in learning a new language progressed in a year and a half from becoming a hobby to traveling across the world.

From studying the language every day, it became apparent that Snipes had a goal in mind after moving to Paso Robles, California his sophomore year from North Carolina. “ I caught him in class studying Chinese, and then he started talking about wanting to go to China,” Xelina Rojas, the eleventh grade counselor, explained, and his persistence continued far beyond studying from a book. Snipes applied to the CIEE because of its internships and study abroad opportunities after researching how he could make his dream of traveling to China a reality.

The research Snipes had set himself resulted in the CIEE accepting his application and him earning a merit scholarship through the completion of six essays. Snipes along with forty-one other students were accepted and granted the opportunity of a lifetime.

“He got to be out in the world with other students from all over the world, not just the United States, and he got to use his Chinese and see that it’s real and that people could understand him. It made it real for him,” Spanish Two teacher, Elizabeth Cordoba, explained.

With Chinese being the most spoken language in the world according to Babbel Magazine’s “The 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World” article, it gave Snipes the possibility of communicating with a whole other community of people.

Traveling to China provided a completely different cultural experience for Snipes as he resided with a host family for the two months and got to visit famous attractions there like the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, Zhujiajiao Water Town, the Shanghai Science Technology Museum, and Lingyin Temple. Furthermore, Snipes’ chance of experiencing “a whole new world” was made a reality with the language that took him there.

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