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Milford High Welcomes Chinese Exchange Students

Exchange students from China stand with their host student for a picture at a reception welcoming them to Milford High School. The exchange students will be staying in Milford for a week, and will stay with host families to experience life with a "typical American family."

On March 24, Milford High School welcomed 14 Chinese exchange students with a reception in their honor, kicking off a week-long experience of sharing cultures and building global friendships.

Fourteen students have come from China to experience life as Milford High School student as part of a week-long "experiential" exchange program. Milford was chosen along with three other towns in Massachusetts to host students from China who have come over 7,000 miles to observe and experience American culture. The students, who arrived on March 23, will stay with volunteer host families and will be shadowing their host student in their classes throughout the week.

Milford High School teacher and exchange program coordinator Kristin Payton said that they also have a few planned activities for the students and their host families including a bowling and pizza night, an open swim night, and shopping at a local mall.

The students were welcomed into Milford High School with a reception in the Hall of Flags, where the Chinese flag was added to the large display of different national flags hung on the walls.

Milford High School's Principal Carrie Banach gave the opening remarks, welcoming the students and assuring then that they would find "friendship, support and welcome."

After Payton went over the group's itinerary for the week, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Tremblay led a contingent of the high school band in playing both the American National Anthem and the Chinese National Anthem, a piece that they have been working on for some time to welcome the Chinese exchange students and to make them feel at home.

Ji Feng, one of the chaperones from China, said that although the students are a bit nervous on their first day in America, they are "very excited." "We want the students to make friends and have new experiences," said Feng. "We want them to learn more about [American] culture," he said.

The exchange students will have opportunities to learn about the American culture not only at school, but also with their host families. Doug Maier, whose family is hosting an exchange student for the week, and said that their exchange student will be experiencing different activities with their son including a Boy Scout Meeting, volunteering for the Special Olympics, and even some baseball training. "These are the types of experiences I would want my son to have if he traveled to China," he said.

After staying in Milford for the week, the exchange students will be touring other destinations in America including New York, Washington, and California, before returning home.

After the reception, Banach said that the exchange program is a global learning opportunity, one which benefits all parties. "It really is a wonderful opportunity for the students and faculty to learn about one another's cultures," she said.

This is the first time that Milford has hosted students from China, but hopes to continue the experience by hosting students for a full-year exchange program as early as next school year. An exchange program with China will expand the district's existing international partnerships with Italy, Spain, and France.


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