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U.S.-China cultural exchange among American youths encouraged: U.S. educator

  HOUSTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Young Americans should be encouraged to have cultural exchanges especially with their Chinese counterparts, a U.S. expert from the south central U.S. state of Texas told Xinhua on Monday.

  As Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration was held in the Confucius Institute in Prairie View A&M University in Texas, James A. Wilson, associate vice president of the university, said that with the help of the institute, there is more awareness of the authentic Chinese culture.

  He believed that cultural exchange which is based on the educational process should start with young people.

  "I think you start with young people because they'll remember the exchange they can tell other people," he said.

  For seven years, Prairie View A&M has been sending their top students who studied Chinese for one to two years to Xi'an International Studies University in northwest China's Shaanxi Province for a six-week program. "Their Chinese background makes them very competitive in future studies or careers," said Wilson proudly.

  Ashley Bridges, an alumna of the university, had a four-year experience of Chinese study. She said the study helped open her eyes while shaping the way of thinking, and that she would like to establish a company to help young Americans travel abroad, especially to China.

  "China becomes one of the powerhouse countries. I want students who don't have the opportunity to travel so that they can experience different culture," Bridges told Xinhua.

  Several Chinese exchange students from Xi'an International Studies University performed during New Year Celebration on Monday. Dozens of U.S. students who study Chinese or are interested in Chinese culture also attended the event.