Louise McDevitt

(Parent and chaperone)


May 8, 2013

Louise McDevit“The reputation of the Journey East program was well known to our family before our two daughters, Kate and Devan entered Leland and Gray High School from a school system which had School Choice.  In fact it helped us choose Leland and Gray from a multitude of private and public schools.  The concept of an ongoing international experiential educational program, which developed passion for learning, made it a logical choice.  The allure of the program held true and the life lessons learned included personal growth, attainment of self-reliance, thirst for knowledge and the old fashioned extremely “hard work”. In addition to watching my children’s growth, I witnessed so many positive experiences of their peers, their parents and community members as they all became involved in the Journey East team.

Our family was fortunate to host ten Inner Mongolian college students and their professors over seven years. We feel that during that time we developed deep, comfortable, respectful and meaningful relationships despite the language barriers. In addition to learning about Asian culture and history we all became very adept at Chinese charades!  In addition, we have met our “family” members multiple times and hope to see them again.

I was a chaperone for 4 weeks and every day was an educational experience.  Did you know that there are sixteen year- old students who have never been on an airplane? Yet, by the time they return from traveling all over China they develop such intense life experiences that they now believe that someday they will navigate a plane. When I traveled with the 25 students, they worked as a team and performed in front of thousands of admiring citizens of different provinces.  I will never forget the beaming smiles and the pride they took in their individual or group performances.  Their personal interests yielded relevant and meaningful capstone final projects.  From a fiscal point of view the results are immeasurable since we are don’t typically measure ownership, engagement and an ongoing interest in learning.

How fortunate are these individual students who in a matter of months are exposed to a completely unknown culture, bridge the gap of diverse socio-economic groups, learn to integrate with other peers, develop artistic and academic programs, create final projects, travel in depth throughout China and will never forget their personal view of China?  For me it was invaluable.”