Visiting Other Countries
Bonjour France and hola Spain. In June 2019, Madame Pappalardo and Senora Malouf took 38 students from Anchor Bay High School to visit Paris, France, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. It was the ultimate learning experience as students were able to immerse cultural connections activities to help develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultures they visited. The students were able to bring history and culture to life, while free time provided the chance for independent exploration. It was a magical and wondrous trip for all and a dream come true for many students.
Bringing Other Cultures Here
Anchor Bay High School welcomed forty-six 10th and 11th-grade students from Beijing, China for the 2017-18 school year. These students were the first of many to partake in an annual educational and cultural exchange program in our district. The cultural exchange program is a great experience for our students, staff, and the community.
The district researched the program for two years and partnered in a summer camp program. Our families participated and hosted elementary students from Beijing during a three-week summer camp. Staff and community support for expanding a foreign exchange program was overwhelming.
In 2017, renovations occurred over the summer months at the MacDonald building to create dorms for the exchange students. No general fund or bond money was used to create the modest living quarters and classroom spaces. The foreign exchange program is completely self-sufficient due to tuition paid by the exchange students. The dormitory has plenty of room for the program to grow, but also the renovations were made in such a way that the building could easily, and inexpensively, go back to a school. In 2018, the district received a provisional boarding school license from the Michigan Department of Education.
Our students have embraced this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Chinese language and culture. A mentor program was created at the high school and our students have asked for more and more opportunities to interact with the Chinese students outside of the regular school day.
We live in a global society, and China is a dominant player in the world. Our students are learning about their customs and culture, and more importantly, gaining life-long connections with their peers. It is part of Anchor Bay’s mission for our students to respect diversity.
District-Wide Benefits of the Program
The foreign exchange program has already allowed us to expand our learning opportunities for local kids. Anchor Bay now offers Mandarin as a foreign language for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Research shows that students who learn a foreign language have a greater awareness of other cultures, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and consistently outperform control groups in core subject areas on standardized tests. It also allowed the district to purchase new textbooks for K-12 students in a variety of subjects.
If you have questions about the program or would like to become more involved, please contact Chelsey Schell at email@example.com.