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A Global Connection at Saint Francis High School

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Saint Francis freshman Ella Cheng and Felicia, an exchange student from Shenzhen whom she is hosting, during Chinese 1 class.

The ongoing language and cultural exchange between Saint Francis High School and Sinolink Primary School in Shenzhen, China, now in its seventh year, continues to blossom, as the Saint Francis community welcomed another group of exchange students and their two teachers.

Several Saint Francis families opened their homes to host 26 students, ranging from 10-12 years old, welcoming the opportunity to learn new things and see their American lives through a different perspective.

“It’s a cool experience to meet someone from a different part of the world and show them America,” said freshman Ethan Wang-Desai.

The host families took their visitors to many local attractions, but even the mundane aspects of everyday life were memorable for the young students. Playing basketball and singing in the car with American teenagers were just as unforgettable as a trip to San Francisco.

During their weeklong stay in the Bay Area, the exchange students observed what it’s like to be in a classroom with students their age by spending time at Saint Joseph School, and they also visited all the Chinese classes at Saint Francis, imparting some cultural knowledge with the Lancers. On the day they stopped by a Chinese 1 class, they and the Saint Francis students huddled in small groups, excitedly taking turns interviewing each other. They learned about each other’s families, favorite movies and cuisines.

The entire experience abroad was magical for Sinolink student Felicia, who enjoyed teaching her host family Chinese. “I’m not homesick,” she said. “I have traveled by myself before.”