Meet Susan Xuan
My name is Susan Xuan and I am the Director of Chinese Exchange Affairs at Germantown Academy. You may be able to tell that Xuan is my Chinese Family name. I was born in China and grew up there until I got my Bachelor degree. I came to America about 20 years ago and earned my Master's degree from the University of Texas; then after working several jobs as a software engineer, met my husband (Amorosi) and got married. Now we have two daughters who attend GA.
Both parts in my life have had a significant impact on me, my parents in China and my husband and two children here in the United States. My parents are both educational leaders and have had a positive influence on me. Also, many of the Chinese schools and personal connects have come about through them. Also, making sure my daughters achieve the best education possible was important to me (why my husband and I chose GA for them). Knowing China is playing a major role in world economy, our student should prepare for globe affairs in the further.
During the summer of 2006 when I was visiting my parents in China, I took the opportunity to look for friendship schools in Beijing and Shanghai for GA. To date, GA faculty and students have visited China on five different occasions since 2007. Students and faculty have enjoyed exceptional hospitality from Chinese friendship schools and greatly benefited from seeing welcoming Chinese schools in action. Some GA students have described the experience as “life-changing” for them.
There was a very important milestone for GA just a little over two years ago. In October 2008, Germantown Academy hosted the educational leaders of The High School Attached to CNU, and the meeting between Principal Yan-Lun Shi and Headmaster Jim Connor displayed the promise of a long-term cooperative relationship between our two schools. The Chinese exchange program for GA was now off and running.
Then in May 2009, GA and CNU as partners began applying to Hanban to establish a Confucius classroom at our school.
What is Hanban? As China’s economy and exchanges with the world have undergone rapid growth, there has also been a sharp increase in the world’s demands for Chinese learning. In 2004 China began establishing non-profit public institutions which aim to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries. These programs were given the name of Confucius Institute/Classroom. Also, the headquarters of Confucius Institute in Beijing is also called Hanban (the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language). By October of 2010, there were as many as 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius Classrooms established within 96 different countries.
After nearly five months of application procedures, on October 16th 2009 a leader of Hanban and GA’s head of school James Connor signed an agreement to offer a Confucius Classroom at Germantown Academy. GA becomes the first Confucius Classroom in Pennsylvania. This distinction award gives GA students and community member’s unprecedented access to Chinese language studies, travel to China and friendship-building opportunities with Chinese students, teachers, and professors. In May 2010, Jim visited Hanban and received a warm reception by the VP of Hanban.
Here some photos of our friendship school when they visited GA in October 2008 and 2009.
I encourage you to click on the links around our website for more details about our Confucius Classroom program.