BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The city of Bangor opened its doors to a group of students from China. The Queen city continues to have a sister city relationship with Hubei China. Programs at area schools host exchange students with the hopes to break down cultural barriers and create an international community.
Former Bangor mayor Gerry Palmer said, "There are top flight students from China and it gives them the opportunity to expand their horizons...they are going to visit various schools, the universities as well."
The fifteen students and three teachers will visit John Bapst, Hampden Academy, and the University of Maine to learn about the exchange programs available. Organizers hope this will encourage more students to come to Maine for education.
Palmer said, "What they can take back is that there are other opportunities out there...We've got a lot to learn from each other."
Among the visiting students is 14-year old Liao Yaqi whose visiting the United States for the first time.
Yaqi said, "This is the first time I go abroad. I feel very excited, but a little tired because it is a long trip."
Yaqi is a student Huai boarding School in the Hubei Province. The middle schooler said she was excited to learn about the American culture and spend time with her host family.
"My hostess family always hugs me every morning and say 'I love you everyday.' I think it's very good, said Yaqi.
The visitors will stay with eighteen local families to immerse themselves into American culture.
Jing Zhang with The Chinese Language and Cultural Center of Maine said, "How wonderful for the opportunity to exchange language and the culture. So we try to create this emerging learning environment."
The students will also be visiting Boston, New York, and Washington D-C before returning to China February 6th. A group of Bangor students will be visiting Hubei in the summer.