Shanghai's sister city youth 'camp out' returns, online

Yang Meiping
Initiated in 2009, the annual event has become an important platform for international exchanges. But it was stopped in 2020 and moved online last year.
Yang Meiping
Shanghai's sister city youth  'camp out' returns, online
Ti Gong

Students, teachers and officials attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Shanghai International Sister Cities Youth Camp via the Internet on Monday.

The Shanghai International Sister Cities Youth Camp is back – via the Internet again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initiated in 2009, the annual event has become an important platform for international exchanges.

But it was stopped in 2020 and moved online last year.

It is the second time for campers from Shanghai's sister cities to meet virtually. It has received 1,287 teachers and students from 41 cities in 37 countries and regions in the past 12 editions.

About 510 students from 60 schools in Shanghai have participated as volunteers.

Officially starting on Monday and running through July 31, this year's camp sees 144 students from 17 sister cities of Shanghai in 16 countries and regions, including Espoo of Finland, Antwerp in Belgium, Barcelona in Spain and the Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan.

A total of 160 Chinese students from 40 schools in Shanghai will serve as volunteers to accompany them to take online activities to learn about China and Shanghai.

On Monday evening, they watched performances of traditional Chinese music and modern dance by Shanghai students and sang the famous song "You Raise Me Up" together to officially kick off the event.

Shanghai's sister city youth  'camp out' returns, online
Ti Gong

Shanghai students performing pingtan, a traditional Suzhou form of story-telling and ballad-singing.

In the following two weeks, the campers can log on to the camp's platform to learn Chinese language, history and culture – such as Chinese tea ceremony and papercutting – and enjoy the landscape of Shanghai and the hospitality of local families.

Li Yongzhi, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, host of the camp, said Shanghai is an inclusive port for cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, where West and East meet and blend.

"I hope all of you can feel the openness, innovation and inclusiveness of Shanghai, make new friends in the camp and become developers of friendships between nations," he said at the opening ceremony of the camp.

Ha Yunsu, an official from Busan in South Korea, said that although the camp is organized online this year, he believed students will have a happy and unforgettable period and broaden their vision, improve their global knowledge and make new friends.

Shanghai's sister city youth  'camp out' returns, online
Ti Gong

Chen Qun (center), Vice Mayor of Shanghai, announces the opening of the summer camp.

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