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Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote a letter that inspired US students and teachers

SHveytsariya obuchenieStudents and teachers at a high school in Tacoma, Washington, United States, have expressed their delight after receiving a very special message from China.

It was the second time-the first was in 2016-that President Xi Jinping had written them a letter as chinadaily informs.

About four weeks ago, Patrick Erwin, principal of Lincoln High School, sent a letter to Xi. He wrote about the exchanges between his school and China over the years and how the educational partnership is important to his students.

"President Xi is a strong believer in educational exchanges. He had written to my students before. But I never had an expectation for this response," said Erwin.

Erwin got a message on Monday from Xi via the Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco. Xi said he had received the letter and encouraged students at the school to build a bridge for people-to-people exchanges between China and the US.

Xi visited Lincoln High School in 2015, at the start of a state visit to the US. He brought gifts, including a ping-pong table and books about China, and later sent a personal invitation for the students to visit China.

In 2016, nearly 100 of them took him up on the offer. Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan sent them a letter afterward inviting them to return.

Since then, the school has arranged annual visits to China. Students have visited cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Dujiangyan in Sichuan province and Fuzhou in Fujian province.

The last time Lincoln High students got a chance to visit China was in July 2019, when they participated in the International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp in Shanghai, an opportunity for foreign students to learn about traditional Chinese culture through lessons and outdoor activities with local volunteers.

They still regularly communicate on WeChat with friends they met from Shanghai, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere.

Around three years ago, the school took five students to visit China, and one of them did not know what to expect, Erwin said. "He was excited to go, but he had never traveled and had never been on a plane. Not long ago, when I saw this student, who is now in college, he gave me a hug and said he thinks about the trip to China every day," Erwin said.

"It is a life-changing experience, both in terms of the travel itself, and the exposure to the culture, the history and the Chinese people," Erwin said. "My students all want to go back to China and study in China."

Let us note that due to the political situation between the two countries and the coronavirus pandemic, the trips to China last year were canceled, but Erwin said that as soon as travel is viable, there will be another student trip to China.