Teenagers from around the world attend youth camp in Shanghai

Yang Meiping Chen Nuo
Students and teachers from 11 countries, including China, the US, Australia, Italy and Japan, are in Shanghai to promote cultural exchange.
Yang Meiping Chen Nuo
Teenagers from around the world attend youth camp in Shanghai
Ti Gong

The 17th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp kicks off in the city on Friday.

More than 60 teenagers and teachers from 11 countries, including China, the United States, Australia, Italy and Japan, gathered at the Shanghai Oriental Land on July 7 to kick off the 17th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp.

With the theme of "Peace, Friendship and Future," the event hosted by the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Shanghai Youth Federation aims at promoting exchanges among the young generation from different countries, and enhancing people-to-people friendship.

In the following 10 days, they will be divided into six groups to visit landmarks in the city, such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the World Expo Center and Shanghai Natural History Museum. There will also be a trip to the ongoing World Artificial Intelligence Conference, where they will see the latest AI technology and products, and attend a forum about youth innovation.

They will visit local communities to experience traditional Chinese culture with local residents, ranging from ceramic craft and lantern riddles, to woolen embroidery and origami.

They will attend an orienteering challenge, taking the Shanghai Metro to designated places.

For the first time, the camp will include a stop outside of Shanghai. The participants will go to Jinzhai County of Anhui Province, where they will learn history of China and the development of local villages.

Teenagers from around the world attend youth camp in Shanghai
Ti Gong

More than 60 teenagers and teachers from 11 countries are in Shanghai to attend the camp.

This year's camp includes five students between 15 and 17 years old from San Marino, who took a three-hour train and 11-hour flight to arrive in Shanghai, which is the longest trip they've ever made.

The students said that they learned in geography class that China is a big country with a long history and rich culture.

Alice Canarezza is the youngest member from San Marino. She started learning Chinese this year. She said she decided to participate in the camp because she wanted to improve her Chinese and have exchanges with participants from different countries. She's looking forward to trying genuine Chinese food during the camp.

Nicolas Alejandro Chen, the teacher who leads the Bolivian delegation, said they spent two days traveling to Shanghai with two plane transfers.

"Shanghai is a really big city, and I believe the long journey is worth it," he said. "It's also my first time in China and I'm very curious and excited to learn more about it, because the China I see is completely different from what they have told me."

He said, only after one day in Shanghai, he found the Chinese restaurants in Shanghai were completely different from those in his home country.

"We have Chinese restaurants in our country, but they are more American style. It's completely different from what I've eaten here, and the food is really delicious," he said. "The hotel here is also amazing, a mix of different architectural styles and very well designed.

"In the next few days, I would like to try paying online, with digital currency, which must be very convenient."

There's also a group of Hungarian students who are from the Hungarian-Chinese Bilingual School in Budapest. At the school, students have one 45-minute Chinese lesson a day, but they study extra at home every day, or even practice Chinese while taking the bus to school.

They showed off their Chinese language skills by singing the famous Chinese pop song "The Moon Represents My Heart."

The students said they felt the hospitality alongside the extreme heat and humidity of Shanghai and were excited to start exploring the city.

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