OSKALOOSA — A group of Chinese middle school children got to learn about American schools and life in the Midwest Tuesday on their first day of a week-long visit to Oskaloosa.
The 19 students, their English teacher who goes by the name “Snow” and Principal Pei Hongxia spent Tuesday morning at Oskaloosa Middle School before taking a field trip to New Idea Farm Equipment to do something they can’t do in China — ride on a tractor.
“So far, we’ve had a great experience,” OMS Principal Andy Hotek said. “This has been a fun and exciting time not only for our staff, but our kids. A lot of kids ask how they can shadow the Chinese students.”
The Chinese delegation is from the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. The city is near Beijing.
This is the first time a foreign student delegation has visited Oskaloosa schools, Hotek said.
“It’s wonderful. I hope we can do more,” he added.
The Chinese students have had a busy schedule.
After flying to Des Moines Monday evening, the Chinese delegation arrived in Oskaloosa around 11:30 p.m., Hotek said.
Tuesday, their day began with a meet-and-greet reception at Oskaloosa Middle School.
“We had a breakfast reception,” Hotek said.
The Oskaloosa School Board and the Oskaloosa Chamber Ambassadors bestowed gifts to the delegation and the students, along with their host families, had breakfast, he said.
During the morning, the Chinese students were paired up with Oskaloosa students and they went to class together.
“I have been with Pei and Snow and we visited classrooms,” Hotek said. “We talked about the grading system and instructional practices.”
After lunch, the students visited New Idea Farm Equipment to learn about Iowa agriculture.
Oskaloosa School Board President Carl Drost gave the student rides in a tractor.