Manchester Regional High School in Haledon, Passaic County, recently hosted a group of 29 students and three teachers from the Changsha Experiential High School in Hunan Province, China for a three-day student exchange program.
“We think it is very important for our students to learn more about other cultures and to receive more of a global education and this is a great way to do that,” said Dr. Miguel Hernandez, superintendent of Manchester Regional High School.
The Chinese students were each paired with a Manchester “host” student; the Chinese students attended all classes and followed the daily schedule of their host student, as well as visiting local landmarks and nearby William Paterson University.
The Chinese students were in Haledon as part of a wide-ranging tour of the United States.
“It was an outstanding opportunity for our students, and, I think, mutually beneficial to the Chinese students,” said Dr. Richard Ney, Manchester Regional High School principal. “They said they particularly enjoy visiting our school library; we also took them on a tour of Paterson’s Great Falls and a local firehouse. They told us they were not permitted to visit fire stations in China, so they were very interested in that. ”
While their stop in New Jersey was relatively brief, administrators report that the two groups of students seemed to make a warm connection, promising, in many cases, to stay in touch with each other.
The program represented a first for the Manchester district, which wants to continue its outreach to other cultures. “We hope this is the first of many years of these types of experiences,” said Hernandez, who added that he would also like to see Manchester students travel abroad on a student exchange to experience other cultures.