School Committee approves exchange trip to China

Dec 7, 2017

Old Rochester Regional High School students will have the opportunity to spend time in China this spring, after an exchange program was approved by the Old Rochester Regional School Committee.

Dr. Lee Chang, of Bostonwise, explained the exchange system to the School Committee on December 6. Bostonwise Cultural and Educational Exchange is based in Boston, and has successfully run short-term educational exchanges to China in nearby schools like Framingham and Wareham.

Chang began by showing a video, made by Wareham High School students, of their two weeks in China on a Bostonwise exchange. He then explained that the two-week exchange would cover three cities—Beijing, China's capital; Xi'an, the city of the famous terra cotta warriors, and Guangzhou.

"The tour will cover both rural and modern China, to provide for a more comprehensive picture of the country," Chang explained.

The Old Rochester tour will run from April 11-24. Students will stay in hotels or with host families. Chang said that the host families generally have at least one member who speaks English. They will see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, as well as studying at a local high school and viewing the terra cotta warriors.

The estimated cost for the trip is $3,400. That, Chang said, includes a visa, meals, transportation, hotel costs, medical insurance and personal expenses.

"There's some overlap with school being in session," said School Committee member Heather Burke. "Will teachers excuse the absence?"

"We haven't done this before, but yes they will," Old Rochester Regional High School Principal Mike Devoll said. "We've had international travel in the past, that's always the way it works."

"I think this is super exciting," said ORR School Committee Chair Tina Rood. "What a great opportunity."