THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro-based North East Carolina Preparatory School has been invited to participate in an international exchange program with China that will begin as the school opens for the fall semester. Organized by the Global Classroom Alliance, a group of eight middle school students will travel from China on July 27 to live with NECP families, attend classes, and explore North Carolina for about a month.
“We are very excited about this special opportunity for our students to learn about China,” said NECP Executive Director John D. Westberg. “This is the first phase of our ‘China Connection,’ a developing international exchange program that involves several schools in China.”
NECP is making arrangements with eight middle school families to host one of these young people, who want to spend time with some American “brothers and/or sisters.” The school sent communications to all of its middle school parents and posted the information on the school website and social media sites. Families have been asked to respond by June 30.
“The NECP families are eager to get involved in the China Connection,” said NECP Director of Communications Diane LeFiles. “One family responded within minutes of the first posting.”
School personnel are planning extracurricular activities that will allow the Chinese students to experience American life in eastern North Carolina. In addition, GCA has planned weekend activities in other parts of the state, including a visit to Raleigh, an overnight trip to the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville and a day at the Outer Banks.
Host families and others will participate in the events to foster an enjoyable cultural and educational exchange for everyone involved.
“Hosting an exchange student is a great experience,” said LeFiles. “Our family hosted students from Chile, Japan, and Sweden when our sons were in high school. We learned about our cultural similarities and differences as we developed unique friendships that endure today.”
The Global Classroom Alliance of North Carolina was formally organized in 2012 with private contributions from the US and China. Recognized as a non-profit organization, its mission is to promote global curriculum and develop collaborative programs, activities, and opportunities for students and teachers of the US and China.
The NECP – China Connection is multi-faceted. Beyond this initial visit from the middle school students, the school is working with GCA Director of Alliance Development Shijun Naour to coordinate an extended high school student exchange program that will allow NECP students to travel and study in China.
Future plans include summer camps for NECP teachers hosted by the partner schools in China, arrangements for visiting Chinese teachers to join the NECP staff, a GCA partnership visitation to China, and cooperative international programs with Edgecombe Community College and North Carolina Wesleyan College.
North East Carolina Preparatory School was founded in 2012 to serve school-age children in Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Pitt, Wilson, and surrounding counties.