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Beijing students travel to Cedar Spring

Beijing students travel to Cedar Spring

N-Chinese-exchange-photo2N-Chinese-exchange-photo1A group of students from the prestigious Peking University Affiliated High School, in Beijing, arrived July 19, at the Gerald R Ford Airport, to begin an American adventure. They were greeted by area families who volunteered to host one or two students for the two-week program. Peking Affiliated High School was founded in 1901 and has many graduates that have gone on to become leaders in China.

The students, aged 12 to 15 years, were here to learn about U.S. culture and also use their English language skills that they had been learning in China. The schedule provided for classes in the morning at the Solan Center Wesleyan Church on Algoma Ave. The afternoons were spent touring West Michigan. Every week day morning the students would be dropped off at the home of Susan and Mark Hughes and would then be transported to class in a large van. Some of the places visited were the museums and gardens of West Michigan and also included Grand Haven, SkyZone, Craig’s Cruisers, Country Dairy in New Era, John Ball Park and the Rockford Police and Fire Station. The evenings and weekends were spent with the host family for more cultural exchange opportunities.

The program concluded on August 1, at the Solon Center Wesleyan Church, with a presentation by the students about aspects of the Chinese culture and a luncheon that included traditional Chinese dumplings. The dumplings were prepared by the parents of some of the students that had traveled with them, from China, to tour U of M, Princeton and Columbia Universities. We also received a special surprise, when the children played classical piano music, as well as a rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

While here, the students shared with us details of their lives in China. They were amazed by our clean water and clean air. Their school was shut down for three days last winter due to pollution. The students are constantly under pressure to perform at the highest levels. If they fail to meet expectations, they are not permitted to receive further public school education. They then would become the responsibility of their families to educate (if they could afford to) or become part of the labor pool.

If you have an interest in hosting exchange students contact Sue Hughes’ at 616-307-9244 email: sueBhughes@yahoo.com.

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