More than 100 students from Jiangsu Province, China, visited Monrovia Unified (MUSD) as a part of the culture immersion program from Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange (JESIE). Over four days, these international students visited Mayflower, Plymouth, and Bradoaks Elementary.
At Plymouth Elementary, a Mandarin Dual Immersion school, students quickly connected with international students as they shared the obstacles they face when learning a new language.
“Our Mandarin Dual Immersion students had an even greater opportunity to learn about the language and culture of China, and apply what they have learned throughout the school year,” Plymouth Principal Dr. Gero said. “We are grateful to have had the chance to host such a wonderful group of international students.”
In addition to day-to-day school activities, principals coordinated field trips to Canyon Park, Monrovia’s Public Library, and Monrovia’s Fire Department Headquarters to give students a taste of the community.
International students who visited Plymouth performed a Chinese song and dance as a thank-you to faculty, staff, and students during the school’s monthly honors assembly on Jan. 25. Each student was then honored with a certificate, presented to them by Dr. Gero and Renaissance students.
“It is very important that our administrators, teacher and staff explore and experience Chinese culture, as well as our students,” said Connie Wu, MUSD’s assistant superintendent of business services. “This helps ensure we provide a robust Mandarin Dual Immersion program.”
MUSD began its partnership with JESIE a couple of years ago when the district cosponsored the 13th Jiangsu International Forum for School Principals in Los Angeles in 2017, and was then invited to Jiangsu Province to participate in the 14th Jiangsu International Forum. At the time, MUSD established sister schools with Gulou District, which is one of the top school districts in Jiangsu, China. Sister schools present an opportunity for international students to experience school in the U.S. for four days.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with JESIE,” MUSD Board President Ed Gililland said. “We are committed to ensuring our dual immersion program continues to not only grow, but also provides our students with meaningful cultural experiences.”
At MUSD, dual immersion programs create a connection to academic success, while challenging students to not only learn about new cultures, but appreciate them as well.
“Dual language programs benefit our students’ educational achievement,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “From an early age they are diving into new cultures and developing social and learning skills that will help prepare them for opportunities in the future. This visit from their international peers is an invaluable experience that students will carry with them for years to come.”