Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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June 12, 2013

A global lesson plan; Chinese exchange students wrap up visit to AHS

Chinese exchange students wrap up visit to AHS

A group of Andover families — and the entire Andover High School community — hosted a group of Chinese high school students for a taste of life in the U.S. for the last week.

The visiting Chinese students sat in and observed classes, went to area amusement parks and museums, toured Boston and more. The final stop on their week-long tour brought the kids to Andover High School Principal Chris Lord’s house for dinner Wednesday on their last night in America. They are leaving to return home today, Thursday.

During their visit to Andover, the exchange students found that high school in America isn’t as rigorous as it is in China — where 13 periods running from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. provide a tough education regimen, according to teacher Liu Hong Yan of the Hengshui School in China’s Hebei province.

“They’re enjoying their experience in America, and when they come back to school (in China), it will broaden their experience,” she said.

The visit, by eight students and two chaperones, was part of an ongoing program between Andover High and Hengshui School. Students from Hebei visited Andover earlier this year and a group of 10 Andover students traveled to China in April.

While Andover students stayed on campus in China, the Chinese students stayed with Andover families in America.

Ali Hale, whose family was hosting one of the students, said she mentioned to her guest that American schools have Saturday and Sunday off. “He said, ‘No, no, you have every day off from school,’” said Hale, who was among the Andover contingent that visited China in the spring.

AHS student Abigail Awodele said her “Chinese sister” expressed a personality trait she wasn’t used to — something completely un-American.

“In America, we have so many different stereotypes in everyone. To see that they don’t have those stereotypes is amazing,” she said. “She has an incredible personality.”

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