A Knox Central High School student is bound for China to represent Kentucky and the United States this summer as a student ambassador.
Sarah Miles, a rising sophomore, will be traveling to Beijing, one of many stops on her tour of China, beginning July 2. The sixteen day journey will also take her to Xi’an, Shanghai, and other smaller villages in the country.
“I am excited to travel to China and experience the different cultural ideas and values,” said Miles. “The differences will teach me a whole lot.”
Miles was nominated for the experience, but as she explains, she is unsure who nominated her.
“Only teachers and former students that have participated in the ambassador program can make nominations, so I am unsure who nominated me.”
The ambassador program is coordinated through People to People, established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote opportunities for bridging cultural and political borders through direct interaction and unique experiences. Miles is the only student ambassador representing Kentucky and will be traveling with a delegation from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
For Miles, one of the most exciting yet challenging parts of the trip will be staying at home of a Chinese family. Although the ambassadors will be staying at hotels throughout much of their journey, the opportunity to stay with a family will give her the experience of real life in China.
“If they are rice farmers, I will get to experience working in the crops. If they work for a corporation, I will experience that.”
Miles stated that while staying with the family, she hopes that the language barrier does not pose a problem for her and one other student that will also join her at the residence. She has been practicing Rosetta Stone to prepare for the experience.
One of the most important reasons for Miles to participate in the program is to promote peace.
“Eisenhower believed that if people had face to face contact with one another, peace could be gained. I look forward to representing Kentucky and the United States in China and with my host families.”
While in China, Miles and others will participate in a variety of community service projects including cleanup in the rice fields, gardening, and planting trees.
“I am excited to work with the different foods,” said Miles.
During their tour of China, student ambassadors will sight-see via motor coach and be guided through Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, walk the Great Wall, and see the uncovering of the famous terra-cotta warriors. Miles plans on taking pictures and sharing them with friends and at school when she returns.
“I am very thankful for my parents allowing me to take this opportunity and for fully funding my trip,” said Miles.
“My mom and dad have been very supportive of me during the whole preparation process, and I am grateful for them. I also appreciate whomever nominated me for giving me the chance to expand my own culture.”
Miles’ parents are Laura and Jim Miles of Flat Lick. She will be recognized by the Knox County Board of Education in August for her summer learning experience.