August 28, 2015 3:57 PM
On August 24, 25, and 26, we had 22 students visit Mid-Pacific Institute from Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School (SFLS) in Heibei Province, China. SFLS is a public and private school with approximately 12,000 students from Pre-K to Grade 12. The school has sister-school relationships with 18 schools around the world in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Russia, Sweden and Korea.
They arrived on campus on Sunday, August 23rd for a welcome dinner where they met and ate with our student ambassadors, including 12 local students taking Mandarin II and 4 international students from China. When they toured the campus, the Shijiazhuang Principal and teachers were impressed by the facilities at Mid-Pacific Institute and fascinated by the movable furniture and iPads that allow our students to easily collaborate on group projects.
On Monday, August 24th, the Shijiazhuang students experienced the daily life of a Mid-Pacific student; they were paired with a student and shadowed them in their classes throughout the day. One of the Shijiazhuang students commented, "In China, we just sit in the same classroom and the teacher comes to class. But here, the students move from class to class. New ideas spread because you meet someone new and ideas are exchanged. I think that is why the students here are more creative and I was impressed."
On Tuesday, August 25th and Wednesday, August 26th, the Shijiazhuang students were divided into groups and our students led them to observe various classes such as Robotics, MPx Humanities, Animation, Dance, Ceramics, and more. The Shijiazhuang students noticed that the students here are close to everyone, including their teachers. They mentioned that the teachers were friendlier and funny in the U.S.
The exchange visit ended with a roundtable discussion on cross-cultural differences. Our American students were surprised to learn that girls in China cannot have hair longer than their shoulders. They realized that schools in China have strict rules and were appreciative of what they have at Mid-Pacific. A Chinese international student reflected, "I am glad that I am in the U.S. I like the freedom of participating in the things that I am interested in." Both the Shijiazhuang students and our students enjoyed having the chance to learn from each other.