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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
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Winter 2002
The Long March
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Traveling to a remote corner of China, a volunteer group of UCLA students help the region's impoverished people to help themselves

By Xin Zhang Ph.D. '06
Illustration by Cathie Bleck

"Do you think shepherd boys there really need to know English?" my friends ask when I tell them of my plans to participate in a volunteer English-training program in a poor, rural area in the mountainous northwest Chinese province of Qinghai.

It's a good question. I know that this trip will be a great adventure for the 11 UCLA students and three professors who will go, but I can't convince my friends it will be of any benefit to the kids there. And even as a native Chinese, I really have no idea what I'll encounter once I get there; having grown up in Shanghai, the United States is more familiar to me than will be this remote and mysterious region of Mongolian, Tibetan and Muslim minorities to which we will travel.

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