Shortly after their arrival at the San Francisco International Airport, 23 students from the World Foreign Language Middle School (WFLMS) in Shanghai, China, were welcomed by their Harker middle school buddies.
This year, Harker students enthusiastically greeted their WFLMS buddies at the airport, adding to the excitement of their Jan. 26 arrival. They then spent the day together at the California Academy of Sciences before returning to Harker. After the school day ended, the Harker students took their pals to their respective homestays to live with their families until their departure on Feb. 2.
“The kids had a fantastic time! As we gathered to say our goodbyes, several families told me that they were really going to miss their guests. Our students asked me several times how soon we will be leaving for our visit to China,” recalled Jennifer Walrod, Harker’s director of global education.
Harker student Jai Bahri, grade 7, said that having his buddy stay with him was a wonderful experience. “I learned a lot about my buddy and in such a short amount of time, we got to know each other extraordinarily well.”
Arjun Kilaru, grade 8, said, “The best memory [was] when I took him to a burger joint. He had a half-pound burger with a lot on it and he ate it all for his first time!”
Harker’s relationship with the school in the People’s Republic of China began in 2003 and is the first of its kind. The visiting students were accompanied by several chaperones (all teachers at WFLMS). They were welcomed to Harker and officially introduced during a meeting at the middle school.
Harker students and their WFLMS buddies had been corresponding since the fall. On March 25, a contingent of Harker students headed to China as part of the annual reciprocal exchange program, which is a highlight of the middle school experience for many grade 7 and 8 students.
While here, the exchange students enjoyed going on a number of field trips, including touring the campus at Stanford University and visiting the Tech Museum in San Jose. They also observed and attended several middle school classes, including history, art, drama and dance.
Other fun activities included a scavenger hunt on the middle school campus, making Native American dream catchers and doing a Chinese paper cutting activity with students at the lower school. The WFLMS students’ visit ended with a viewing of the upper school dance show followed by a fun farewell party.