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Cave Creek school hosts students from China

PHOENIX — Nearly two dozen kids from China are in Cave Creek this week to find out what middle school is like in America.

They are all part of a foreign exchange program.

“They are currently at Sonoran Trails Middle School taking classes that they’ve previously met on Skype,” said Cristina Ladas, the world language coordinator for the Cave Creek School District. “It’s kind of fun now that they get to meet in person and actually go through the school day together.”

Ladas said the exchange program started two years ago with the help of the U.S. State Department. Li Qiong, a teacher from China, first visited Sonoran Trails, and then eight students from Sonoran Trails visited China over the summer. Now Qiong is back in Cave Creek with her middle school students.

“Hopefully this is something that we can keep up and have our kids have authentic experiences with people from other cultures,” she said.

The Chinese students are staying with the students and their families. They are in Arizona as part of a U.S. tour that began with stops in New York and Boston. During their stay, the students will visit the Grand Canyon and watch at a rodeo at Cave Creek’s Buffalo Chip Saloon, before heading for Los Angeles on Saturday.