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After being accepted into the ACE in China program, I was ecstatic. One of my major inspirations for applying to the program was after hearing about the experiences and stories that the ACE Ambassadors shared with me. Upon acceptance, I immediately thought about the kinds of stories that I would bring back from the trip and share with future participants. One week in, and I already can’t wait to share my experiences with anyone interested in hearing me ramble on about the dedicated local organization, the culture that I have been immersed in, and the wonderful people I have met.

In China, we are extremely fortunate to be partnering with the China Exploration and Research Society (CERS). Because we are staying at their center in Zhongdian, my fellow ACEers and I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn from professors and scholars originating from around the world who have dedicated their research to the Tibetan culture and environment. I have been increasingly captivated by the true exploration spirit of the society and their dedication to conserving both nature and local culture in an increasingly dynamic and modern world. The CERS staff have passionately educated us in the local culture by bringing us to visit monasteries, showing locally produced documentaries, as well as providing intriguing talks about the region. Without the support of CERS, this program would be completely different and lose the cultural engagement piece of which I have become so fond.

“I have been increasingly captivated by the true exploration spirit of the society and their dedication to conserving both nature and local culture in an increasingly dynamic and modern world. The CERS staff have passionately educated us in the local culture by bringing us to visit monasteries, showing locally produced documentaries, as well as, providing intriguing talks about the region.”

Another aspect that I have come to appreciate during my first week here are the lessons that I have learned from running the camp with this awesome group. Running a children’s camp is unquestionably challenging, but the experiences are invaluable. Every day, I light up when I see the kids show up with a determination to learn. Their effort, desire, and genuine happiness is simply inspiring to me. Too often, we lose the enjoyment in the pursuit of knowledge, but these kids have shown me the value in maintaining the passion to learn. Through little insights like this, I really believe that we are the students and the kids are the true teachers.

While each day is exhausting and jam-packed with activities, the first week of the program flew by. The experiences that I’ve made on the “Roof of the World” has stemmed from interacting with some incredible people.  I cannot wait to share more experiences with them.

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