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posted: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

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Destination MOHS: Foreign exchange students experience MOHS 

Exchange students from China pose with MOHS Principal, Mr. Kevin R. Stansberry

Mount Olive High School has had a unique experience the past few months, hosting several foreign exchange students from China through the Edu-Link program.

According to Edu-Link's mission statement, the goal of their program is to "strive to use education to empower our students to become Global Citizens." Through their foreign exchange program, students from different countries and cultures are able to interact, learn together, and learn from each other. All of the exchange students decided to adopt American names in order to get a full experience immersed in the culture, and these names are noted in parentheses below.

Several of the students from China commented on the structural differences between American and Chinese schooling. Fan Si (Patrick) explained, "The schedule is pretty different here because classes in China are in one classroom. In America, you walk around to other classes."

Ruier Wang (Joyce) echoed similar statements and said, "In China, all eight of our classes are in the same room with the same students. We only get to go outside during our health class, and that's when we do some physical activities like running as well."

Learning to adapt to classes in America was a challenge for many of the students, but after some time it became easier. Yin Lu (Amy) said, "After about 3 weeks to a month it became easier to understand. I also realized that I see myself as a part of this school. Someone asked me where's your school, and I said in Mount Olive."

Besides adjusting to a new schedule, the type of work assigned at MOHS is different compared to that in China. Pingxin Wang (Grace) explained some of the differences: "In China the students are always expected to have the same answers. It's always right or wrong, and we don't get to argue that or think creatively. This school has a lot of projects, and we get more freedom to explore and learn with the projects, and I enjoy that."

Similarly, Daoyi Chen (Edison), described the transition to an American school: "At first it was hard going to school here, but I've become more used to it and I've worked harder. My favorite class is Introduction to Engineering. It's very fun because we have to create a design by ourselves. They give you a topic and you have to think critically about it."

The students appreciate the different types of classes and opportunities that they get to experience at MOHS. Yutong Zhou (Joe), who is a senior, said, "My favorite classes are Accounting and AP U.S. History. I never learned U.S. History before, so APUSH is a challenge for me. I'm increasing my ability to analyze." He also went on to explain that he joined jazz ensemble where he plays clarinet and saxophone, joined FBLA and Robotics, and plans on majoring in Business in college.

Ruijia Zhang (Anneai), who is also a senior said, "The Chinese education system does not offer lots of extracurriculars at school, but MOHS offers lots of activities. I joined field hockey here and play forward. I'm also involved in Robotics."

Haotian Wang (Timothy) is enjoying taking Composition and Design here, especially since fewer art and music classes are offered in Chinese schools. He also said, "In American schools we have access to computers to do homework, read articles, and do searches online. In China, we need to use books to find our information."

Getting to meet others has been a highlight of the exchange program. Ruijun Wang (Raymond) said, "Here we can study with different classmates and make friends in different grades too. We also get to participate in other activities and after school activities. I joined the Drone Club because we don't have any clubs like that in China."

Many of the students also praised their positive experiences living with their host families. Yin Lu (Amy) said, "I've gotten to experience Malaysian and Thai cooking with my host family. The food is amazing, and the host family treats me like I'm their own daughter."

Kanghuan Xu (Tommy) said Dr. Reynolds is hosting him and is teaching him a lot. He also said, "I like how the school day ends at 2:20, so then I was able to join the soccer team after school. It was a really fun experience."

Chang Wang (Lillard) is involved in Rock & Roll Academy, where he plays guitar. Regarding his host family he said, "My host mom is a very good host mom. She's funny and she cares about me. She takes me places and supports me joining activities."

David Carey, a freshman at MOHS, has enjoyed getting to meet some of the exchange students. "It's interesting to learn about their culture," he said, "because it's much different than ours. I like how they apply their culture to what we're doing in class."

Sarah Lee, a senior at MOHS, has become friends with Anneai. She said, "She's super sweet, and getting to know her reinforces the idea that we're all people with similar interests even if we're from different countries. I think it's nice to meet someone new and find the similarities between us."

Evan Kelson, a senior at MOHS, participates in Crossfit with Joe. Getting to work with him, Kelson said, "He's a nice, funny guy. Whenever he needs help working muscle groups, I can show him which exercises to do. Working out in the Crossfit room is a new experience for him, and I'm glad to get to help him out. He's dedicated and is a good role model for our class."

While all of the students miss home, they are certainly enjoying and making the most of their experiences here at MOHS!


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