Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Visitors Say 'Ni Hao'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Visitors Say 'Ni Hao'

Article excerpt

"I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. It gives me a chance to work on my Mandarin, and it gives them a chance to work on their English."

Sarah Huq

International High School student,

on the visiting students from China

PATERSON — Helen Ma, a 13-year-old visitor from China, was standing in the hallway of a Paterson school on Monday afternoon when a local student walked by.

"Ni hao," said the girl from Paterson, putting to use the Mandarin greeting she had learned that morning.

"Ni hao," responded Ma, nodding her head.

Don Bosco Technology Academy opened its doors to 27 middle school students from the Chinese city of Baoji, who came to Paterson on Monday during a two-week tour of the United States as part of their English studies. In classrooms throughout the building, educators that morning had taught the Paterson children the Chinese greeting to make the visitors feel at home.

The group already had spent four days in Los Angeles, and then visited Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty last weekend.

The rest of this week they would be going to schools in Woodcliff Lake and Montvale. After that, they would be headed to Boston, for trips to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"They came here to experience the American education system," said Kitty Huo, a project manager with the Totowa offices of Sunels International Group, the company that arranged the trip.

The Chinese students speak and understand limited amounts of English. They were paired up with a dozen "ambassadors" from Paterson's International High School, who take Mandarin classes as part of their studies in that school's International Baccalaureate program.

"I've been looking forward to this day for a long time," said Sarah Huq, one of the International High students. "It gives me a chance to work on my Mandarin and it gives them a chance to work on their English."

Ma, the 13-year-old from Baoji, listened intently as a stranger asked her a question in English.

"I like the American lessons. …

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