Xavier China Experience

The Xavier China Experience (XCE) is a unique, carefully designed overseas experience unlike other language and cultural immersion programs.

For six weeks during the Third Quarter for Grade 8, Grade 10 and Grade 12 or for five weeks during the summer for Grade 11 IB, participants take intensive classes in Mandarin, work on multidisciplinary academic projects especially designed for the China experience, and go on field trips that expose our students to Chinese society and culture.

The program’s main objectives are to provide our students the following:

  • A real-world environment that will motivate students to learn Chinese language and culture
  • A unique opportunity to develop skills of leadership, the habit of reflection, and a mindset of global citizenship
  • A real-life experience to foster the values of self-reliance, teamwork, and openness to all things new

Four XCE trips have been developed and made available to our students, each with distinct learning and formation goals:

  • Grade 8 (Fujian) – cultural heritage
  • Grade 10 (Yunnan) – ecology and cultural diversity
  • Grade 12 (Beijing) – sustainable development and global citizenship

The program began with 60 Grade 7 students in the first XCE held in Xiamen in 2004. In the last ten years, the XCE has expanded to include the high school seniors in 2008 and sophomores in 2011.

To date, nearly 1,500 students have participated in at least one of the three XCE trips. Students are now required to attend at least one program as a condition for graduation from high school. This means that spending five to six weeks of one’s schooling in China has now become a defining feature of the Xavier Education.

XCE Fujian 福建

Mud houses in Fujian

Mud houses in Fujian

XCE Fujian 福建

The Grade 8 XCE has now returned to where the Xavier China Experience first began in 2004 – in Xiamen in Fujian Province. This coming home to Fujian comes in perfectly with the main theme of this trip – tracing one’s cultural heritage.

The XCE Fujian trip is in partnership with the Chinese Language and Culture Institute of Hua Qiao University, an esteemed educational institution in Xiamen that caters to foreign and local students alike that would like to study Mandarin language.

The students will be visiting different cities and destinations across the province such as Quanzhou, Fuzhou and Wuyishan, as well as taking specially designed courses such as Religious Journeys, Science and Society and Basic Statistics to better maximize the students’ experiences in China.

Due to the younger age of the students in Grade 8, the Grade 8 trip has proven to be one of the stronger formation activities that the students participate in. The students are afforded a first-hand experience of living abroad away from their families, while also being exposed to the culture that most of their ancestors come from.

More specifically, our goals for the Grade 8 trip are as follows:

  • To provide students a first-hand experience of living abroad and away from their family, and undergo personal growth in the process
  • To give the students an opportunity to develop interpersonal skills through collaborative academic work with their peers
  • To allow the students to appreciate Chinese culture and their cultural heritage

XCE Fujian 2017 Parents Orientation

XCE Yunnan 云南

Resting at Shangrila, Yunnan with the High School Principal

Resting at Shangrila, Yunnan with the High School Principal. Photo by Fr Guy Guibelondo, SJ.

XCE Yunnan, for Xavier School Grade 10 students, aims to deepen and broaden students’ understanding of Chinese language and culture by exposing them to the culturally and ecologically diverse setting of Yunnan province.  The experience combines classroom work in the capital city of Kunming with trips to other various parts of the province, such as Lijiang.

This will take place in the context of student academic work.  Each academic department has created a set of learning experiences specifically for the program, which will allow students to meet Xavier’s academic requirements while examining their surroundings.

Our specific goals of the program are for students to:

  • examine diversity in Yunnan’s ecology and culture
  • develop Chinese language skills by conversing real-life contexts
  • hone leadership and teamwork skills
  • develop social and emotional awareness through regular reflection on one’s experiences

XCE Yunnan Orientation 2017.compressed

XCE Beijing 北京


Students at the Beijing Zoo during one of the exploration days in XCE Beijing.

Designed for Grade 12 students, XCE Beijing synthesizes many of the skills that students have acquired during their time at Xavier and further develops skills that have been difficult to address in the traditional classroom setting. It is designed to combine classroom work with self-guided exploration, allowing students to create their own insights about China’s development.

This will take place in the context of student academic work.  Each academic department has created a set of learning experiences specifically for the program, which will allow students to meet Xavier’s academic requirements while examining their surroundings.  XCE Beijing thus serves as a kind of capstone to their Xavier education and a preparation for their collegiate and professional lives.

More specifically, XCE Beijing will enable students to:

  • analyze the complexity of China’s development and derive insights that can be applicable to the Philippine context
  • develop Chinese language skills by conversing real-life contexts
  • strengthen teamwork, leadership, and communication skills
  • adapt to changing environments and deal with unanticipated situations

XCE Beijing 2017 Orientation.compressed

IB XCE Beijing

web featured image template IB.001

Similar to the third quarter XCE Beijing program, the IB XCE Beijing program, which is offered during the summer before Grade 12 for International Baccalaureate (IB) Students, affords IB students an experience of the culture of China amidst the rapid development that the country has been experiencing for the past decades. Students are guided into reflecting about history and development to create insights about their role as global citizens, specifically as Chinese-Filipinos, in the transformation of the global society.

At the heart of the IB XCE trip is an intensive Chinese language learning program provided by the Beijing Language and Culture College and Xavier School’s Chinese Department. With better Chinese language proficiency, it is aimed that the students will be able to better appreciate the culture that they will be immersed in for the duration of the program.

More specifically, the IB XCE trip aims to:

  • improve students’ proficiency in Chinese, especially in light of the challenging coursework students face in their IB Mandarin course
  • give students an opportunity to examine China’s development, develop independence and teamwork skills
  • provide opportunities for college preparation, such as SAT and college entrance exam review

Long ago, St. Francis Xavier dreamed of going to China but he passed away on Shangchuan Island within the sight of the mainland. His dream was fulfilled by a succession of Jesuit missionaries such as Matteo Ricci in the 16th century, who spread the Christian faith across China until they were finally expelled in the 1950s.

Among those were the founding fathers of the school, who continued their mission among the Chinese in the Philippines. Xavier School’s story comes full circle with the XCE, sending Xaverians back to China to discover their roots and appreciate their unique identity as Chinese-Filipinos.

For more information about XCE, please contact the International Programs Office at 723-0481 local 434 or 449.


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