Augusta Preparatory Day School faculty, staff and students opened their arms to some international exchange students Monday.
Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver welcomed the five Chinese students and their teacher at a special assembly.
“It should be an honor for you because this is one of the very best learning institutions in the state,” Cross told the students.
The students – Zhu “Carter” Peng, 15; Wu “Molly” Ziye, 15; Chen “Christina” Ruiming, 14; Pi “Aaron” Shuhao, 16; and Zhang “Richard” Shangxi, 15 – and their teacher, Xu “Maggie” Yan arrived in Augusta Jan. 12 and are staying with Augusta Prep host families for two weeks.
“It’s been great,” Carter said Monday of his trip so far.
This is the second time the school has played host to Chinese exchange students through Ameson Education and Cultural Exchange Foundation. Recently, Augusta Prep Head of School Becky Gilmore traveled to China as part of the Ameson American High School Principal Delegation.
The students will spend their trip attending classes with Augusta Prep students and attending student-coordinated activities. In their first 24 hours in America, the students already tried Chick-Fil-A and learned what “y’all” means.
And, like most teenagers, they were excited about the extracurricular activities. They were looking forward to shopping and visiting Atlanta on Feb. 2.
The students participate for three years in a special English language program in Beijing, said their teacher, Maggie.
“They are learning American high school curriculum in China,” she said. “If they work hard and if they can get an offer from an American university, they will come to America for further studies.”
Maggie also is at Augusta Prep to learn, attending classes to observe teachers.
“I’m trying to find out (about) the different education system and how teachers perform during class,” Maggie said. “How their teachers perform in the class, the different cultures.”