Chinese Students Visit Rochester Community Schools to Exchange Differences and Explore Similarities

Rochester Community Schools is proud to announce that it is hosting 60 students and six staff members from China as part of its strategic plan in the area of global awareness.

“The exchange program enables students and staff from both countries to make personal connections so they can explore the similarities and differences that exist between educational systems, cultures, political systems, geography, and history,” said Executive Director of Elementary Education Michael Behrmann.

Visits will take place from October 2-15

Visits will take place from October 2-15

Visits will take place from October 2-15. The students and staff are from Zhangjiagang Experimental Primary School (Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province), Liangfeng Middle School (Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province), and Xishan Senior High School (Wuxi, Jiangsu Province). Xishan High School students will visit from October 2-8.

The students and staff will be visiting North Hill Elementary and Van Hoosen Middle Schools, as well as Adams, Rochester, and Stoney Creek High Schools. Visits to educational, cultural, historical, and civic attractions and institutions include local and regional university campuses, State of Michigan Capitol tour, Rochester Hills Museum, Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Detroit Institute of Arts, Stoney Creek Metro Park, City of Rochester Downtown Historical Walk, Detroit Zoological Park, and City of Rochester Police and Fire Department.

“The visiting students are in fifth grade, eighth grade, and eleventh grade and have been paired up with same-age students from RCS. They will be attending classes together so the Chinese students can experience typical American school life. In turn, our students can gain a perspective of the Chinese culture and educational system,” said Behrmann.

As a precursor to the student trip, the Institute of Higher Education Exchange Collaborative (IHEEC) hosted a delegation trip to China, where four RCS administrators were able to solidify plans for the student trip and further establish meaningful partnerships. 

“The partnerships that have been established between RCS and these schools are a result of careful and deliberate planning. We worked hard to find schools in China that share the same ideals so students and staff can form bridges that foster dialogue, understanding, and compassion,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D.

In 2016, Rochester Community Schools hosted its first ever visit by Chinese students when 24 Hai’an Senior High School students and three staff members visited Rochester High School for one week. “The experiences, memories, and friendships that were established during the visit continue to have a profound impact on all of the students at Rochester High School. We look forward to developing this enriching experience for our students and staff,” said Rochester High School Principal Neil DeLuca.

Similar to the visit in 2016, this year’s group of Chinese students will be hosted by nearly 50 RCS families. The middle school and high school students will be spending the duration of their visit with district families, while the elementary students will be splitting their stay between a local hotel and host families.

“These families will be providing a hands-on glimpse into American family life, while gaining an understanding of Chinese and Asian culture,” said Behrmann. “It’s such an incredible experience.”

During spring break in 2016 and 2017, RCS students visited China through exchange trips to Liangfeng Middle School and Xishan Senior High School. “RCS students were warmly welcomed by the schools and host families in China. It is an honor for us to reciprocate and host students from the same schools that our students visited. The additional hosting of Chinese elementary students signifies another historic moment for our district and the State of Michigan,” said Behrmann.

“At Rochester Community Schools, we believe that it is critical to provide an enriched learning environment where our students can experience a variety of customs, lifestyles, and backgrounds,” said Shaner. “By educating our school community through such diverse programs, we can continue to build awareness and understanding that is so important in today’s global environment.”

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