Kent ISD announces cultural and educational exchange program
Caroline MacGregor February 26, 2013 | WGVU Governor Snyder has challenged Michigan citizens to diversify the economy and provide people with a skillset to compete on a global level. East Kentwood High School Superintendent, Dr. Scott Palczewski, says this fall students from the Weiming Educational Group of China will attend school here while staying with host families.
Because the students will be visiting on F1 visas, the American families will not receive payment as is the case with many other foreign exchange programs. The students will be accompanied by one of their own teachers to oversee their welfare.
Palczewski says the district will remain firm to their commitment to provide a global perspective for the students.
"One of the things we like to think of is that it will bring the world into our classrooms. We know that when students appreciate the contributions of other cultures they are better prepared to communicate and compete with those cultures."
Dr. Palczewski says East Kentwood High students already know how to build relationships in what he calls a cosmopolitan global setting here in Grand Rapids. The Chinese students visiting Grand Rapids are primarily seniors taking time out from their school year to get exposure to the American culture.
I asked Dr. Palczewski why students from East Kentwood High are not visiting China during their high school year.
“You know, I, uh, um, think that in this point in our devlopment, US students aren't quite ready for a full year abroad. I don't know if that is out of the question long term but I think what we want to do is start out slowly and as the Chinese program grows at East Kentwood High there will be ample opportunity for our students to go overseas and not only learn the Chinese system but experience their culture.”
Dr. Palczewski says students with East Kentwood High will likely travel to China after completing high school. The school does not yet teach Mandarin but hopes to introduce the language through this program. During their stay, the Chinese students will have access to numerous cultural areas of interest and during breaks travel throughout the Midwest.
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