Lacombe-area families and students are putting out the welcome mat for students from China who are participating in a cultural exchange program with Wolf Creek Public Schools.
On Thursday a ceremony was held at Lacombe Composite High School to say goodbye to a group of 33 Chinese students who leave Friday after spending a week, and to welcome a group of 31 students that will be here for 12 days.
Wolf Creek Public Schools is the first jurisdiction in Alberta to develop a student exchange program with the district of Li Wan in Guangzhou, China. In March, 20 to 30 high school students from Wolf Creek will go to China.
Li Wan is one of 10 districts in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, and Guangdong is China’s most populated province with 110 million people.
“It’s a great learning opportunity for both groups of students,” said Mark McWhinnie, assistant superintendent with Wolf Creek.
Twenty-five local students are working as ambassadors to interact with the visiting students.
He said Chinese students start learning English in Grade 1, but they are often nervous about using English and the ambassadors are helping to put them at ease.
“It’s going very, very well and one of the reasons it’s going so well is because we have those student ambassadors,” McWhinnie said on Thursday.
The visitors stay with host families who take them sight seeing and to events. They also participate in activities organized by Wolf Creek. On Saturday students will be in the Lacombe Days parade.
“We went to the Lacombe Corn Maze yesterday. That was a big hit.”
McWhinnie said driving on a gravel road to the maze also seemed to be a new experience for them.
“They all kind of giggled and were fascinated with the gravel road. All the things we kind of take for granted are the things they enjoy and point out and ask us what they are.”