Students Visit Lansing From Sister City In South Korea

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

Students from Asan, the Republic of Korea - one of Lansing's sister cities - start their first week of a summer exchange program.

The 25 middle school students from Asan will be here for three weeks. Leaders of the educational exchange program say the goal is to improve the students' language skills, and to give them the opportunity to experience a different culture.

"I'm very excited about studying with good teachers and good friends," said Alina, a 14-year-old student from Asan.

Alina and the other students will take English classes at Michigan State University every morning, and participate in different activities in the afternoon. Just a few days into their three-week stay, the students have a lot to look forward to.

"I'm excited about making new friends, learning about culture, and field trips to Chicago and Michigan adventure," said 13-year-old Leslie.

"I want to meet many friends and study English more and more," said Jack, 13 years old.

The program's director, Dr. Sung Lee, is originally from Korea, but has lived in Lansing for 38 years. He says Asan is actually very similar to Lansing in terms of population size and industry. From his perspective, the main goal of the exchange is to improve the students' language skills and to help them become global citizens.

"What they feel in their hearts, they experience kindness from total strangers," said Dr. Lee. "And they are all so impressed and come back with a good perspective of the global citizen."

The students will stay in the dorms at MSU during the week, and then stay with Lansing-area host families during the weekend. While they're here, they'll get to take trips to Chicago, to Michigan Adventure, and to the Ford Museum.

It's all part of what's called a "full-scale immersion" program, giving the students a wide variety of American experiences to share with their friends and family when they get back to Asan.

Alina says she can't wait to tell her little sister all about the program.

"It's a very nice program," Alina said. "I'll have many experiences I can't forget."

This trip comes right after group of Lansing-area students took week-long trip to Asan. The Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission urges anyone from Lansing who is interested in the program, to get in touch with the city about applying.


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