Wolf Creek Public School division officially welcomed their 15 Chinese exchange students with a Chinese New Year celebration.

Exchange students, classmates, teachers, and host families were all invited to celebrate the New Year and welcome the students. They all enjoyed making dumplings, food, paper crafts, karaoke, and presentations from the exchange students.

“The Students arrived in Calgary on Saturday. It was plus 20 where they left in Guangzhou and they were welcomed to Canada when it was minus 30,” said Mark McWhinnie, Assistant Superintendent to Wolf Creek School Division.

Despite the cold, one of the exchange students had nothing but nice things to say about Canada, “I think Canada is beautiful, very beautiful! The houses are beautiful. The air is fresh and I can see snow! I can’t see it in China.”

“During the five months they are enrolled in one of our three schools in either Lacombe or Blackfalds and they will be staying and living with host families,” Mark added, “The Students are in grades 6, 7, and 8 and they will be attending classes as well as some extra excursions in the province. They will be doing activities that are focused on culture, language, and building those relationships between Canada and China.”

Canadian students, Jayden Stauffer and Brooke McWhinnie are program councillors that will be helping the exchange students throughout the five months.

Brooke McWhinnie commented, “I think that we all develop good leadership skills and communication skills with these Chinese students. We are able to make really great connections and long-lasting friendships. “

“This is a really important program for our school division and the communities that are taking part. It just gets everybody involved. It’s a huge sense of community between students who share the same interests. It’s a great opportunity to become involved as a student ambassador or other roles in the program. I think it’s a great idea for students to become involved in this,” added Jayden Stauffer.

After a short two week exchange in the summer of 2018 and this more long-term exchange, Wolf Creek is interested in growing the program.

“If there are any families in Central Alberta that are interested in hosting and being a host family whether they have short term or long term experiences we encourage them to get in touch with us,” said Mark McWhinnie.

The exchange program is sure to benefit both the Canadian and Chinese participants alike and hopefully will grow in the future.