On January 29th, 16 students and their teachers from Shanghai Ocean University and Shaoxing University in China, arrived in Rialto. They had their first American meal at the In-N-Out restaurant, where several Rialto host families met and picked up their student guests.
The Chinese students spent three weeks learning various topics including Family Structure, Education, Public Safety, Public Service, and Ecology & Environment. The students were able to attend Cal State San Bernardino for a week, before spending several days at the Inland Empire National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) facility on Riverside Avenue, where there was additional classroom instruction. The NCNW served as the headquarters where the host families brought the students for classes and field trips.
During the orientation class City of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson welcomed and addressed the students. Mayor Robertson told the students that the City of Rialto was in the process of negotiating a water treatment plant with a Chinese company employing state of the art filtration systems. As part of the orientation, the students received a short course on etiquette and table manners from one of the host parents, Theresa Billing.
During their three-week visit in Rialto, the Chinese students had the opportunity to visit the Rialto Police and Rialto Fire Departments. They also took excursions to Santa Monica, Staples Center, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood, Farmers Market, Universal Studios, and the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System.
Although the Chinese students had a busy schedule, they were able to spend lots of time with their host families. Most of the students were fluent in English and communicated efficiently during their stay.
On Friday, Feb. 16 the students made a presentation on what they had learned in class. After that, they prepared for a special “Culture Night” – a student-organized cultural performance where some sang in Chinese, danced, and entertained their host families, a local restaurant catered a Chinese meal. This final festivity coincidentally happened to fall on the Chinese New Year.
The enVision SAR Cross-Cultural and Living program is located in Santa Monica, which hosts hundreds of students throughout the United States twice a year short-term visits. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the local coordinator at 760-912-0069.