Ava Lee

Learning Chinese opened up my world

By: Ava Lee

Hi, my name is Ava and I am 9 years oldI have been learning Chinese since Kindergarten.   

At Barnard Elementary, a CI classroom school, I learned Chinese and calligraphy, Kung Fu, how to use an Abacus, and the fan dance. There is so much more to learn about Chinese culture.  

Learning Chinese has opened up my mind. I wish other people would have a chance to learn Chinese too because then there wouldn’t be so much racism. 

Certain politicians caused racism to grow by saying that Covid was caused by Asians. They said Covid was a “Kungflu.” Since COVID started, there have been a lot of crimes against Asian Americans. 

This isn’t new. I also learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act that happened. This happened a long time ago and it was a law that prohibited the Chinese from immigrating to America for 61 years. Chinese helped build the railroad and were contributing members of society, yet they were banned from coming to America. The act was very unconstitutional and It was very racist.  

Learning Chinese makes people more aware and less racist. Some people may think that learning Chinese is too difficult or a waste of time, but I feel it is not. When someone learns a new language, they get to learn a new culture. It opens up your whole world and outlook. It’s a new world and different culture. Learning Chinese is very different than English in that there are characters for every word. It is like drawing pictures and I am fascinated by learning new characters. 

The last trip I took before the pandemic started, was a trip to China. I went with my mom on a CI-sponsored trip to Beijing and Changsha. It was so fun! I got to meet a host family and they taught me how to make dumplings! They also took me to a mall and it was a little different from my malls in New York. They have so many different types of toys and fashion.  

We also went to visit a high school and it was very inspiring. It was a big school and it seems like they work a lot harder than us. They have school on Saturdays and their school is from 8-6 pm.  

We also went to art museums and I saw a very old mummy. The buildings are so interesting too. There is so much history in China. We also went to an island and saw a huge statue of Mao’s head.  

I got to climb the Great Wall of China and it was very tiring. The view was so amazing but it was worth the hike.  

We went to a food alley in Changsha and there were so many types of foods, even chocolate-covered bugs which you would never see in America. I enjoyed this shop called “Snack is too busy.” I wanted to try everything and it was delicious. 

When I was on this trip, I made friends with a photographer named Wang Sai. He didn’t speak very much English so I had to speak in Chinese. I wish my Chinese was better so that I could talk to him more. Learning Chinese allows people to make friends more easily because they can speak the same language.  

Thank you, CI for the opportunity to learn Chinese as it has opened up my world




Ava Lee

Ava Lee was born in San Diego, California and attended Barnard Elementary, a CI classroom sponsored by SDSU. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her mom and two cats.  Ava will be entering 5th grade in the fall at PS 184 Shuang Wen elementary, a dual language Chinese/ English school. She enjoys making art, swimming, and going to museums.