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Clare's blog

From Jinhua to Maine

January marks the launch of some exciting new projects at Fox Intercultural headquarters in Portland. On Friday, January 18th, we will be welcoming a delegation of 12 educators from the Chinese Province of Zhejiang. The principals are traveling to Maine in order to meet their sister schools from across New England.

It is part of our Sister School Initiative and offers a wonderful chance to American schools. In-person meetings are essential to relationship building in China, so to meet in the setting of South Portland is a rare opportunity.

The educators all hail from the Chinese city of Jinhua. Located a five-hour train ride southwest of Shanghai, it is a prefecture-level city with a population of 5.3 million. Jinhua has a thriving economy dominated by manufacturing and processing. But it’s not all about industry.   

Just fifteen kilometers outside of the city is the Double Dragon Scenic Area, an area renowned for its Buddhist temples, Daoist culture and mountain forests. It’s a view of classic Chinese culture but you’ll also find a thoroughly cutting-edge display in the center of the city. The Jinhua Architecture Park is a huge project by infamous artist and architect Ai Weiwei. Following the banks of a river winding through the city, stand 17 pavilions designed by architects from around the world. The artist’s father the poet and novelist Ai Qing was born here.  

With more than a dozen schools signing relationships this month, in the coming year students from Jinhua will be traveling to New England for innovative summer programs.