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Chinese students live the island life

Visiting elementary school students from the city of Chengdu, China mix and mingle with the children of their host families during the group’s meet-and-greet welcome party at Seabold Community Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The children are living with host families on Bainbridge Island as part of an educational exchange program throughout the month of October.  - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
Visiting elementary school students from the city of Chengdu, China mix and mingle with the children of their host families during the group’s meet-and-greet welcome party at Seabold Community Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The children are living with host families on Bainbridge Island as part of an educational exchange program throughout the month of October.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

 

They arrived on the island Tuesday, Oct. 8, following brief stops in Washington, D.C., Chicago and several other cities and will stay through the end of the month before returning home.

The Chinese students will stay with local families with children of similar ages. English lessons and educational field trips are scheduled throughout their visit.

“They’re getting along so well,” said exchange group coordinator Robert Weschler of the American and Chinese students. “It’s going really great.”

Weschler said that the benefits of the program for the kids are numerous. The Chinese students improve their budding English skills in a real-world environment, and both groups expand their cultural knowledge.

“It’s amazing how fast they learn English,” Weschler said of the visiting students.

The students are between 9 and 11 years old and most are leaving home for the first time.

“I was very excited but also very nervous about staying in a new house,” said Martin, one of the visiting Chinese students. “I am having a very good time.”

Many of the students expressed surprise at how cold the weather on Bainbridge Island is at this time of year.

“I am very surprised how cold,” said Phoebe, another visiting student. When asked if it was colder here than China, she laughed and said it was definitely colder here.

The children spent their first day on the island in four hours of English class with Weschler, followed by a tour of Suyematsu Farm and its pumpkin patch, a visit to The Island School where they sat in on a class and, later, they went on a tour of Sage Fly Fishing.

Not daunted at all by the nearly 15-hour time difference, the children ended their first full day on the island with a soccer match outside of the group’s meet-and-greet welcome party at Seabold Community Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

“I think American people are very good,” Phoebe said.

Additional plans for the remainder of the visit include attending the Bainbridge High School homecoming game Friday, Oct. 11, a tour of the island’s farmers market, several day trips into Seattle including at least one Sounders game and a visit to the fire station for the annual Volunteer Firefighters Association pancake breakfast.

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