WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama is heading to China in about two weeks and wants advice on what to do and see when she gets there.
Of course, the State Department is involved in planning her schedule. But on Tuesday the first lady picked the brains of sixth-graders who visited the Asian powerhouse last year. The Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School has a dual English and Mandarin Chinese immersion program.
“I have all of these wonderful policy people that help me prep, but I figured since you actually visited some of the cities that I’m going to go to that I would get a good sense of what to expect, what you learned, what you liked, what you didn’t like, some of the questions that you think I should ask and be prepared for,” Mrs. Obama said.
She listened to a presentation by the sixth-graders on their trip and later followed along as pre-kindergarteners helped teach her how to say “hello,” ”bye” and “thank you” in Chinese. The younger kids did a dance using red, hand-held fans and finished by throwing them to the floor so they could do some of the moves to “Gangnam Style,” by South Korean singer Psy.
The first lady asked the older kids how they dealt with the jet lag and they told her about some things to watch out for.
“Be prepared for people staring at you,” one student said. Another cautioned about the “super different” toilets in China. A third sixth-grader warned Mrs. Obama about pickpocketing, which isn’t really a concern for someone who is always surrounded in public by armed Secret Service agents.
The first lady announced Monday she will travel to China, without President Barack Obama, from March 19-26, stopping in Beijing, Xian and Chengdu.
Mrs. Obama told the students to expect to get more questions from her about their experiences in China.
“I’m going to look to you guys to be like my advisers on this trip,” she said.