Rockford Chinese Students
ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- A group of Chinese students is getting to know all about the American culture by attending high school here in West Michigan. It's part of a pilot program in the Rockford School District.
"The first day, I was very nervous," says Zheng Jian, who goes by the American name, Irving.
Not only is he starting a new school, but Irving's only been in America for one week. He is staying with a host family in the Rockford area and is enjoying some of the local attractions.
"We go to Lake Michigan, the water park, a roller coaster."
Irving started Rockford High School this week with four other Chinese students; they're part of the Weiming program that brings Chinese students to America to attend high school.
Chinese teacher, Jeff Hayes has taken several trips to China and helped get the program going at Rockford. "I think the main attraction is not only to improve their English, but to give them an advantage when it comes to applying for student visas to study at universities here."
The students take regular classes like physics and math, but they say it's not easy. "There are some vocabulary words that we don't know, but we have a dictionary," says Irving.
There are also cultural differences. Zou Ying, who goes by the name Zany, says Americans rush through lunch and rush to their classes. "I was like, 'eat quickly-- quickly!' We were running to the classroom." It was also Zany's first experience with a locker. It's taken Zany a while to learn her combination so she wrote the numbers on her hand.
The Chinese students have a teacher from the Weiming program staying at the school and she helps them with any major problems. So far, things are going smoothly and the students are getting a warm welcome and enjoying their time in America.