Student Michael Hanscom said the trip is “one of those things where, if I don’t do it now, I will never get to do it.”
“If you have an opportunity to explore a culture so different than your own, you should do it,” he said.
The students are also playing at a music festival at the school. Their performance will center around a single theme: traveling through America.
“We’re kind of showing them America through its arts,” student Devika Ranjan said. “You don’t need language to communicate.”
The students will leave on Saturday, and their flight to China will take them over the North Pole, according to Lord. They’ll return Sunday afternoon, the day before school returns to session.
For school officials, there’s a hope that student trips abroad will continue in the future as Andover High School develops a relationship with the Hengshui School to become the town’s “friendship school.”
With the relationship, Chinese and American students would regularly travel internationally to visit each other’s schools. There could be a greater connection for the Chinese students staying in Andover, however. With no on-campus housing at the high school, it will be up to Andover families to provide room and board to students coming to the United States, according to Lord.
But whether the students stay on campus or in the home of another family, they’re building relationships that student Saalik Lokhandwala said could last forever.
“Later in life, you’re able to go back to those people you met as a young adult or teenager,” he said.
That’s what Hugh said he has wanted to do since students from the school visited Andover earlier this year.
“Ever since, I’ve been emailing them, like pen-pals,” he said. “I really have started to look forward to seeing them.”