SHANGHAI, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Expo 2010 Shanghai reaches its midway mark, a new group of Student Ambassadors is joining the USA Pavilion. These college students and recent graduates, all fluent in Mandarin Chinese, represent the United States at the Expo, engaging, informing and entertaining nearly 50,000 visitors each day.
"For most Expo-goers, the USA Pavilion is their first - and possibly only - interaction with Americans," explained Peter Winter, Student Ambassador Program Director. "And with 160 Student Ambassadors volunteering throughout the six-month Expo, the USA Pavilion by far has the largest representation of its own citizens interacting with guests. This personal touch presents a unique perspective, as the students not only answer questions about the USA Pavilion but also offer a glimpse at Americans and their culture."
"I think guests just want a little bit of exposure to the USA, and that's what the Student Ambassadors provide," said Katie Sirolly, a recent University of Delaware graduate from Tobyhanna, PA, who was among the first group of Student Ambassadors to volunteer at the USA Pavilion. "Even if you're just greeting guests at the turnstile, if you can make eye contact with everyone who's coming through, smile and say 'huan ying guang lin' (welcome), it means something, because it might be the first time they've heard a foreigner speak their language."
The Student Ambassadors program also provides participants with an unparalleled cultural experience that will impact their education and employment opportunities. "Working in the USA Pavilion gives me valuable knowledge about the business environment in Shanghai," said University of Memphis International MBA student Mark Wlodawski. "My favorite part is getting to meet people from all over the world and hearing about their views of China, the U.S. and many other topics."
The program, which was organized by the University of Southern California's U.S.-China Institute, received nearly 700 applications. To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens, had to be a student at the time of application or in the semester following work at the Expo, must have completed at least two and half years of Chinese studies, as well as provide two letters of recommendation from teachers attesting to the applicant's fluency.
The Student Ambassadors currently supporting the USA Pavilion represent 32 states and the District of Columbia. At more than 60,000 square feet, the USA Pavilion is one of the largest national pavilions at the Expo. With the theme of "Rising to the Challenge," the United States presence showcases American culture, values, innovation and business in one of China's most dynamic cities, while celebrating the friendship and cooperation between the United States, China and the rest of the world.
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This News Flash is distributed by Newsmaker Group on behalf of Shanghai Expo 2010 Inc., a non-profit corporation authorized by the State Department of the United States of America to conduct the planning, design, fundraising and operation of the USA National Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
SOURCE Shanghai Expo 2010 Inc.