Students from Xian Gaoxin Greenwich School were in the air nearly 30-hours for their flight from China to Detroit, but looked no worse for the wear Monday morning as they met their peers at South Lake Middle School.
The 21 students, and two teachers, landed ealry Monday morning at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and were transported to St. Clair Shores for a welcome breakfast to kick off the two week exchange program.
"They are coming to experience life in St. Clair Shores and South Lake," said Fang MacCallumMhor, South Lake Middle School Mandarin teacher.
The students from China will stay with host families during their stay, and attend classes at the middle school. Their families, and the district, will also take the students on field trips throughout the region.
Sitting at a cafeteria table, Sophia Jannaro and Zuo Kefei chatted over breakfast as if they were longtime classmates.
Jannaro said the she was looking forward to learn about the differences between the two cultures, in addition to taking her new friend shopping and to her cousin's birthday party during the stay.
While the students from China made the long trip this fall, South Lake students will go to China next year, MacCallumMhor said.
For Angelo Cream, an eighth grade student at South Lake, he is looking forward to host a student a travel next year to China.
"This is a one-time chance," Cream said.
South Lake now joins Lake Shore which has had an extensive exchange program with China, and remodeled a former elementary school into an dorm for students from the district's sister school in Beijing.