International Emerging Leaders Program

at Collegiate School

An afternoon in Shanghai

By John B.

After visiting WestRock, our tour of Shanghai began with a visit to Tianzi Fang, an old shopping bazaar where we found all sorts of traditional gifts.  Jake and I enjoyed bartering with locals when trying to buy chopsticks, waving cats, and silk scarves.


We worked up quite an appetite shopping, and ate a delicious lunch at Din Tai Fung.  From its Taiwanese origins, it has become famous for its dumplings and has attracted the attention of multiple Chinese celebrities. We are pork dumplings, fired rice, and sampled Zongzi, a recommendation from our very own Price Withers. The restaurant had a glass opening to the kitchen were we were able to watch the chefs prepare meals.

After lunch, we toured more of Shanghai’s highlights including the French and British concessions. These areas of China were occupied by each country respectively, but when they were released to China, East met West, and now “yesterday’s buildings meet today’s fashion.”  On the way to our next stop, we drove down People’s Avenue, a street where people used to race horses, saw Shanghai City Hall, and the park where locals would go to set up their children for marriage.


We then arrived at the Bund, a sightseeing stop, and saw the skyline of China including Pearl Tower and Shanghai Tower.  Our final stop at local markets was the highlight of our day.  We certainly will come home with some high quality goods.

We are currently riding the high-speed train from Shanghai to Zhenijang where we will be greeted by a representative from our partner school, Beijing New Oriental Foreign School. The bus will take us to Yangzhou where we will meet our host families.


The Journey to China

By Will W.


Our IEL Asia class is incredibly excited to travel to China. Some are looking forward to the homestay experience, some about exploring Yanzhou and Shanghai, and others about the flight, nearly 15 hours in length.

We have been working hard to understand Chinese-American business relations and learning about Chinese culture in class. Ever since our Chinese visitors from Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School completed their one week stay with us in January, we have been excited to visit them at their school in Yangzhou.


After talking with the group who participated in IEL Asia last year, I am particularly excited for the activities at the schools, as I have heard they really go out of their way to both involve us and make sure we are having a good time.  I am also looking forward to my stay  with my host family.  I have never had a homestay experience and am excited to be part of someone else’s family (although I certainly love mine).

I think I speak for all of us when I say we are thankful to have this experience and only anticipate an engaging, eye-opening visit to China.



Today we explored downtown Mexico City, mostly around the city square. The buildings in this area were built by the Spanish over the pre-existing buildings. Because of this and the fact that Mexico City was built on a lake, the city is sinking. We began by looking at uncovered ancient ruins called Templo Mayor. Many of the ruins were made of stone, and some still had the original paint on them. We then went to Catedral Metropolitana, a giant catholic cathedral built by the Spaniards which has the 14th largest organ in the world. After looking through the cathedral and learning about its history and current use as a place of worship, we went to lunch at a nearby restaurant (Los Azulejos) that had beautiful tile walls and served delicious tacos and enchiladas. We then walked through Palacio del Correo, an old post office with beautiful gold detailing. Our last stop was Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes where we had seen the ballet the night before. This time, instead of entering the theater, we went to a different floor to see murals which depict historic events and ideas in Mexican history including revolution, socialism, and freedom.
Elizabeth M.

Folkloric Dance

On Wednesday evening we went to the center of México City to watch the Ballet de Amalia Hernandez in the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes. It was an unforgettable and culturally rich experience. The performance started with a line of men, dressed in feathered headdresses and pants, who played the drums while a large group of dancers performed tribal like movement. Following this opening scene were a series of dances that reflected both the traditional and romantic aspects of Mexican culture. The dancers were all dressed in traditional Mexican attire which paralleled the music. The female dancers were wearing vibrantly colored dresses that had long skirts which they used to dance with. While the male dancers were dressed in ranch and mariachi costumes. The stage where they performed had constant set changes which made the ballet more unique. The performance was also interesting because the musicians were always on stage and even interacted with the dancers, showing that they are equally a part of the show as the dancers. The entire show was truly remarkable.

Caroline R.

Home away from home

When we arrived to Mexico we all had a feeling of nervousness. We were afraid to meet our hosts and worried about the coming week. We first arrived at Carol Baur late Thursday night, to finally meet our hosts and their familes. They slowly called out our names and one by one the crowd of luggage began to thin. Once we were called we left with our new families for the week, still full of anxiety. After the awkward introductions, my host Yussef and his family took me to get some real tacos. It was 1:00 in the morning. From the lack of sleep and the plane, I was feeling sick. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling any better the next morning and I was prepared for an extremely uncomfortable conversation. My host mom came to me and said not to worry, she’s a mom and everything will be okay. She gave me medicine and a coke with lemon (the Mexican remedy for a stomach ache). For the next two days my host mom babied me. She made sure I took my medicine every meal and got me what ever I desired. Her and my host family’s hospitality was amazing. It eased any nerves that I had about how the week was going to be. Although I felt terrible for two days, I was excited for what opportunities my time in Mexico would bring. The connection I share with my host family is life long, and I know we will stay in contact.

Matt G.

United Nations – Felipe Queipo



Mr. Queipo’s speech at the conference was amazing. He is such a positive, kind, and encouraging person, and his speech was nothing short of it.  Mr. Queipo works as a Director of the Department of Public Information for the United Nations.  To begin, he went into a few details of the UN.We learned that there are six main organs of the UN including the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.  Then, Mr. Queipo discussed the many biases within our broadcasting systems and news casters.  He gave the classic example of CNN being more liberal and Fox News being more conservative.  He made it clear that the top priority of most news castings is profit. He challenged us to rethink our sources.  Next, Mr. Queipo discussed the importance of finding the facts and truth in news, which is one of the many goals of the UN.  The most encouraging piece of his talk was emphasis on our generation’s leadership.  He believes we are vital to our world’s growth and that our opinions should be heard because we are smart and need change.  We are the face of change.


Gwin S.

La casa azul – Frida Kahlo’s house

The Frida Kahlo house was a place I had been looking forward to since we had received the itinerary for the trip. The bright blue walls and the beautiful gardens certainly lived up to my expectations.  As we walked around the house, observing the art, we all kept thinking back to Frida and Diego actually living in this historic place. The kitchen was set up exactly the same as when the two lived there. The trip was bittersweet due to the fact that Frida experienced so much pain and discomfort confined in this beautiful home. She couldn’t even enjoy my favorite part: the center garden by the pond. And we certainly enjoyed the house and the significance that comes with it.
Blayney K.

Teotihuacán – ancient pyramids

Despite the sore legs, dusty shoes, and sunburns, we had such a fun time visiting the pyramids at Teotihuacán. The day started with a long bus ride full of singing songs in both Spanish and English. When we finally arrived, our tour guides, Carol Baur students, separated us into three groups. In these groups, we started to learn about the culture and history of the abandoned city. Though we don’t know who built these ruins, we know bits and pieces of the unfinished puzzle. We know that these are temples rather then tombs like they are in Egypt. Experts believe that the city was built 1 year after Christ. And every structure was built in the place it sits today for a very specific reason: the pyramids revolve around the Sun pyramid, just as the planets in the solar system revolve around the sun as well.  As the trip drew to a close, we all had the chance to eat delicious popsicles and do some last minute shopping of trinkets and souvenirs. The day ended as we got back on the bus and headed back to Carol Baur.


Emma B.


The delegate’s dinner was the perfect way to cap off the wonderful three days of international dialogue! Carol Baur outdid themselves with the fiesta that had it all. We walked into the school’s courtyard greet by our new Mexican friends and the mouth watering scent of corn tortilla tacos, espiropapas, and traditional corn soup. After eating out weight in food, we hit the dance floor! The DJ strictly played reggaeton, the most popular music genre with the Carol Baur students, and we klutzy Americans tried to learn how to dance as eloquently as them. Fed up with embarrassing ourselves, we taught them how to swing dance. You would have thought it was a Collegiate dance with how well they learned our moves. It was amazing to teach a piece of our culture. At the end of the dance the DJ was kind of enough to play “JuJu on That Beat” so that we could show how skilled Americans are on the dance floor. The evening ended with a slide show of pictures taken during the conference and us swearing that we will listen to reggaeton at home. The delegates dinner was a fun evening to solidify new friendships, eat copious amount of Mexican food, and dance the night away.

Tess P.

Blog at

Up ↑