Lake Shore's Chinese Exchange Program Continues to Grow
Nearing the end of a four-month exchange program, Lake Shore considers new opportunities for local and international students.
Over the past few months Lake Shore High School has been the host of one of the largest contingents of Chinese exchange students in Michigan, and the district is planning to further expand this successful relationship.
Students and teachers from the Beijing Haidian Foreign Language Shi Yan School have spent nearly four months attending classes, exchange-program classes and sporting events at Lake Shore while visiting Michigan landmarks and universities and experiencing American culture and holidays.
The 27 students and two teachers have been living in an apartment building in St. Clair Shores that has become a dorm for the students from China. The students also have host families who have welcomed the exchange students into their homes for weekends and holiday breaks.
"This has been a great plus for Lake Shore," said Christopher Loria, Lake Shore superintendent.
The trip is being fully paid for by the Beijing Haidian Foreign Language Shi Yan School, which has had a relationship with Lake Shore for the past six years.
"In China, the students are focused on books and classroom academics," said Li Jian, chairman of the board for the Chinese school, through an interpreter. "In America there are more opportunities to explore what they want to do.
"If we could combine American and Chinese educational systems it would be ideal for kids in both countries," he added. "That is why we decided to come together."
As students from China experience the United States, Lake Shore students have the opportunity to take Mandarin classes at the middle school and high school level.
And next week, Lake Shore will be hosting a Chinese-American student summit at the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Nearly 200 students from across the county will gather at the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Students from Lake Shore along with those from Armada, Center Line, Lakeview, L'Anse Creuse, Romeo, and Van Dyke will be leading the summit and will include discussion about the relationship between Macomb County and China.
In addition to the discussions, Lake Shore students will be filming and running a blog site to report on the event.
As the current group of students nears the end its stay in Michigan, another group of students will make the 20-hour flight in February from China to attend Lake Shore until the end of the school year.
"(Lake Shore students) are very friendly to us," said Zhang Yi Fan, while he was watching a Lake Shore football game last year. "(The game) is very exciting."