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Students from China visit the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
BEN CALWELL | Metro
Qiu Jiayi, left, and Cheng Yijiu of China work on an art project during a July 27 visit to the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center. The girls were part of a larger group of Chinese students who took part in a two-week summer English camp at West Virginia State University. The visit to the child development center, which is a branch of the YMCA of the Kanawha Valley, was one of several field trips the students made during their stay.
Cole Brothers, 10, left, paints with Huang Ziging of China at the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center. A group of Chinese students, ranging in age from 11 to 16, visited the center during a two-week English language camp at West Virginia State University.
Visiting Chinese students met and interacted with students at the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center on Rocky Fork Road. They created art together and then had lunch.

A group of young students from China paid a recent visit to the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center. It was one of several field trips the Chinese students took while they attended an English Learning Summer Camp at West Virginia State University.

While at the YMCA Child Development Center on Rocky Fork Road, the Chinese visitors, who ranged in age from 11 to 16, interacted with children and participated in various activities with them as they finished up their two-week stay at WVSU.

Karleigh Fellure, branch director of the center, said about 13 students from China visited the facility.

“It’s part of their (WVSU’s) English As a Second Language program,” Fellure said. “They requested that their children come visit our children to interact and socialize. It’s a cultural experience.”

While at the child development center, the Chinese students ate lunch with the center’s students who are in the third through sixth grades and participated in various activities with them.

As a day-care facility, the Cross Lanes YMCA Child Development Center, which is a branch of the YMCA of the Kanawha Valley, serves 250 children ranging in age from 6 weeks up to 12 years old.

“There is such a need for child care in Cross Lanes,” Fellure said.

Lacie Stover, assistant director of the child development center, said the children have been looking forward to meeting the Chinese youth.

“Our kids are really excited,” Stover said. “We’re going to do an art activity and all kinds of stuff.”

Jade Irving, an English language instructor at WVSU, was one of several adults accompanying the Chinese students.

At WVSU, the students “are taking a two-week-long, intensive English camp to improve their English language proficiency,” she said.

The trip to the child development center gave the Chinese students opportunities “to learn English culture, the culture of American students around their age and to see the similarities and differences of what they may be doing here, versus at a YMCA or place like that in China.”

The visit to the child development center was also a learning experience for the American children.

“It gives the American students an opportunity to meet people from out of the country that they otherwise may not have met,” Irving said. “I think it’s rich for both parties involved. I’ve learned some Chinese since they’ve been here.”

Richard Hiles, of WVSU’s Office of International Affairs, said the Chinese students took a number of field trips during their visit to West Virginia, including to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest and the state Culture Center.

“They enjoyed the Culture Center and the Governor’s Mansion,” Hiles said. “They also toured the House of Delegates and the Senate.”

Irving said this is the first year that WVSU has hosted an English Learning Summer Camp as part of its Excellence in Culture and English Language Study Program at the university.

“We hope to continue it in the future,” she said.

At WVSU, the Chinese students lived on campus and ate their meals in the university cafeteria.

According the WVSU website, the university is collaborated with Modern Tourism Cooperation and Exchange Center of Shanghai and Beijing New Development Education Training School for the summer camp.


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