UC Davis’ Custom Youth Programs Offer Chinese Students a Taste of College Life

Students with homestay families

Youth from two of the top six schools in China’s largest metropolis, Guangzhou, recently visited UC Davis to study and experience university life in the United States.  As part of the Custom Youth Programs at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education - international, middle and high school students participate in a variety of academically rigorous research, college preparation and English language programs on the UC Davis campus.

In January, more than 75 students from Guangzhou University Affiliated High School and Guangzhou No. 6 High School—both tier 1 schools in Guangdong Province—participated in the two-week U.S. College Study Skills & College Preparation Program. At the same time, Guangzhou No. 6 Middle School also sent a group of 6th-8th graders to participate in the STEM Youth Program.

“We are delighted to bring our high school and middle schools students over for academic programs at UC Davis,” said Guo Zairong, principal of the international department of both Guangzhou University Affiliated Middle and High School and Guangzhou No. 6 Middle and High School. “UC Davis’ state-of-the-art resources that are uniquely accessible to pre-college students, outstanding faculty, beautiful college town and close proximity to San Francisco make it an ideal destination for our students to experience U.S. university life.”

U.S. College Study Skills & College Preparation Program

The U.S. College Study Skills & College Preparation Program equips high school students with skills to help them excel at U.S. universities, introducing topics such as independent learning, effective note taking and academic citations. Outside the classroom, students have the opportunity to visit museums and centers on campus, learn about available academic and social clubs, and visit the campus Welcome Center to learn about applying to UC Davis. Students top off their Davis experience with trips to Sacramento, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

“This is a fantastic program with friendly faculty, rich experiences and the best student activity leaders. I had such a memorable experience at UC Davis,” said Kelly Lam, a sophomore at Guangzhou University Affiliated High School.

Post-program surveys from both Guangzhou University Affiliated High School and Guangzhou No. 6 High School indicated that 100 percent of the students were happy with the program and more than 70 percent had significantly broadened their horizons from the experience.

STEM Youth Program

The STEM Youth Program introduces a range of popular STEM topics—from environmental issues to A.I. —and provides daily coding classes to middle and high school students. Students have an opportunity to work on a series of projects, culminating in a final project involving programming their own robots.

“I immediately noticed how learning was different at UC Davis—more interactive and thoughtful,” said Tiger Li, an 8th grader at Guangzhou No. 6 Middle School. “I really enjoyed brainstorming how we can use our understanding of coding to help environmental issues that we were discussing in science class.”

Taking advantage of UC Davis’ various museums and centers, students in the program observed the 3D printers at the School of Engineering’s Design Center and handled insects at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. 

Students also extended their learning outside the classroom, including a visit to the Explorit Science Museum and Davis High School where they met with students and mentors of the world champion robotics team 1678 Citrus Circuits. They also took excursions to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and alumni-guided tours at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Students also enjoyed a docent-led tour at the Cantor Art Center.

“Especially as we are still in middle school, the opportunity to also experience hands-on what we are studying through campus visits and field trips was fascinating.  Also, having the chance to get a head-start with our English skills in science at our age is very helpful,” said Vincent Xi, an 8th grader at Guangzhou No. 6 Middle School.

Participants in the STEM Program lived with homestay families in Davis, nearby Woodland and West Sacramento, which gave them a chance to truly experience American culture from home-cooked meals to local shopping and movie trips.

 “We are grateful for the warm hospitality of the Davis homestay families,” said Principal Guo. “Our students were very well cared for, and each homestay family made a great effort to show our students what their everyday American life is like. Our students were touched by the families’ friendliness and strong community spirit, which made a lasting impact on them,” he said.

Students who participate in this program come through the Gowell Education Limited Group and are long-time partners with Continuing and Professional Education – International Programs.

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