A whirlwind six-day tour of China has left Brainerd High School senior Jennifer Dens a little sleep-deprived. But given the chance she would do it all over again.
"It was really awesome," Dens said Sunday, a day after flying back to Minnesota. "It was quite the experience. I learned a lot. It was the experience of a lifetime."
Dens, 17, was one of six student ambassadors who joined Gov. Tim Pawlenty on a trade mission trip. Dens' trip was focused on business, economics and trade. She attended 93 events in six days in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Dens and the Minnesota delegation toured Chinese manufacturing facilities, attended business and trade presentations, were guests at receptions and sat in on Minnesota-China Partnership briefings.
Brainerd High's Jennifer Dens says she learned a lot in China.
Each student wrote an on-line journal entry on a specific topic each day. "We didn't get much sleep when we were there, about 3 and-a-half hours a night," Dens said "We were busy."
She said what was surprising during her trip was the similarities between Chinese and American businesses. She said she hopes to use her experience at the University of Minnesota, where she plans to pursue a career in international business.
"I know so much more than did before," Dens said. "This trip made business real for me, I now understand so much more about what needs to happen."
Dens, an honor student, has organized blood drives and fund-raisers at her school, worked on civic projects and has been a volunteer at Camp Confidence.
The China trip was an initiative to lead more than 200 business, government, academic and civic leaders to China on a trade mission.
Pawlenty described the six students who made the trip as academic all stars who use their talents to better themselves, their schools and their communities. Joining Dens were Emily Dahlman of Cokato, Amy Jordan of Hibbing, Ann Miron of Hugo, Steve Ralles of Maple Grove and Priya Sury of Falcon Heights.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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