St. George, UT – October 17, 2012 – The Huntsman World Senior Games is famous for its world-class organization, venues and competition. Athletes from around the world converge on St. George, Utah each October with dreams of Gold and anticipation of meeting and mingling with friends, both old and new. But another tradition is forming that not many people are aware of. For the past two years, China has sent a delegation of youth who serve as volunteers at the Games and hope to better their prospects in life through their involvement.
Twenty-four year old Joanne Wang is known by her family and friends as Wangzhuoran in her hometown just north of Shanghai. She’s a 24 year old graduate student studying media, and she’s confident that her time in America will help set her apart from the nearly 1.35 Billion Chinese who are or will be looking for careers. “It was not easy to be selected to come to the Huntsman Games. We had to pass basic language skills, show an aptitude for sports, and prove to the selection committee that we would adjust easily to a new environment,” said Joanne. “And even though equality is getting better now in China, girls must work hard to show they are as able as boys.”
“We had to show the selectors that we had enthusiasm, that we could get the required visas, and that we could afford the trip,” says Shixian, known here in the States as Kevin. “My father is a Doctor and my mother is a Professor.” Kevin’s parents believe that any time spent in the US improving language skills and learning to bridge cultural differences will help him move into a successful career in China. Whether it’s business, government jobs or professional positions, English and an understanding of the West—particularly America—is a key component in the eyes of many Chinese.
“I like the American style,” says Zhangshuai, known here as David. Many students take on American names because of the difficulty Americans have with recognizing and remembering unfamiliar Chinese names. “The US style is good because they are so friendly. There are so many people in China, and they are so busy, that it would be too hard to smile at everyone,” says David. “We would get too tired smiling all the time.” David says that some highlights of his trip here so far have been the volleyball competition at the Huntsman World Senior Games, seeing the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, and singing Moon River with Utah County musician James O’Neil Miner. “It was so amazing. Everyone stood up and clapped for us. They liked it!”
Kyle M Case, CEO of the Huntsman World Senior Games said that a 2010 Friendship Volleyball Tour to China left him feeling so impressed with the student volunteers. He and Chinese Volleyball Official Dewei Tang decided to invite students to visit America and help with the World Senior Games event. “This is the second year we have welcomed a Chinese student delegation to assist with the Games,” says Case. “We really love to have them here and hope they return year after year.”
Case says the students are enjoy interacting with the athletes and are very dedicated and competent in their assigned roles.
All of the Chinese students who were interviewed agreed on a few things. Namely: America is beautiful and different, bread and jam for breakfast is not as good as noodles and rice, and improving their language skills and world knowledge by spending time at the Huntsman World Senior Games will be a huge score on their Résumés.
2012 Chinese student delegates are: Shi Xian, Wang Zhuoran, Sun Aoming, Zhang Shuai, Yang Zihui, Yu Yang, Yin Haiqin, Dou Luqing, Liu Yongtai, Zhang Mingming.