Enterprise Dispatch, Nov. 28, 2005
D-C teen visits China with governor
By Kristen Miller
Emily Dahlman is a Dassel-Cokato junior who just returned as one of seven students on a trip to China with Governor Tim Pawlenty.
The visit to China was a mission trip to strengthen ties between Minnesota and China businesses, Dahlman explained.
The one word she used to describe her trip was, “overwhelming.”
Pawlenty wanted to bring students along on the trip because “We are the future of Minnesota and he wants us to get a head start,” Dahlman said.
Dahlman visited China with 218 delegates from Minnesota which included seven students and top Minnesota professionals
Dahlman’s future career goals had to be considered for the trip because each student was assigned to a specific professional group such as mining, medicine, science or like Dahlman’s group, education.
She chose education because she hopes to have a career in it some day, Dahlman said.
Dahlman’s group included University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks and other college representatives were also among her group.
Each group had a set of itineraries. Dahlman’s education group visited schools in China. The Chinese students were so excited to see an American their same age, Dahlman said.
“They were fascinated to see my blond hair,” she said.
Education is different in China, Dahlman said. They go to school from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a half day on Saturdays.
Students begin learning English in third grade, “They knew how to speak it better than I did,” she said.
Along with business, Dahlman also got to sightsee. She visited Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, saw the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.
Every night there was a formal banquet for all the delegates, she said.
Dahlman enjoyed meeting and “hanging out” with Governor Pawlenty. “He’s so much fun,” she said.
Dahlman was among the seven students chosen out of 83 applicants to visit China.
She was nominated and then completed an extensive application process that consisted of school transcripts, a letter of recommendation by the school principal, two essays, and her reasons for wanting to attend.
A result of her visit was a lesson on economy and business she hadn’t much thought about prior to her visit. She also learned the Chinese culture and their ways of living.