NSA expands exchange program

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Debbie Russell, head of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, exchange student Faye and her aunt stand at New Oriental American Private High Schools Fair. Russell recently took a trip to China to learn about its culture and meet with exchange students.

Debbie Russell, head of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, exchange student Faye and her aunt stand at New Oriental American Private High Schools Fair. Russell recently took a trip to China to learn about its culture and meet with exchange students.

By William Scott

Correspondent

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy will expand its exchange student program this fall as it welcomes seven students from China sponsored by New Oasis International Education.

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Last year, New Oasis contacted NSA to form a partnership to bring several students to the school. The company is based in Herndon and works with 27 schools on the East Coast. Currently the organization works exclusively with Chinese students, though it has plans to expand to the European Union.

Deborah Russell, head of school at NSA, recently joined New Oasis President Shen Chen on a trip to China. Russell had the opportunity to learn more about the culture and meet with students who wanted to study in the United States.

“I think it gave everyone on this trip a much better understanding of China and of their culture and the level of interest Chinese students had for studying in the United States,” Russell said. “There’s a ton of demand for students to come study in the United States.”

Russell spoke to each student coming to NSA either in person or through Skype to gauge their interest. Many students Russell spoke to voiced their desire for a learning environment with cleaner air and a more rural area.

“They all spoke very good English,” Russell said. “They wanted to know about our school and the community we live in and what we expected of them. We want them to come here and be accepted academically first, but we also want them to participate in student life here and be involved in sports, clubs, and the arts and become an active member of the NSA community.”

According to Russell, China does not present as many opportunities to enroll in higher education as America does. Many Chinese exchange students come seeking education in American high schools so they can advance into American universities.

NSA has participated in exchange programs for nearly eight years. Students hailing from Cambodia, Korea, China and Europe have attended NSA in the past.

The school also has an exchange program with Norway in which students from both countries visit each other’s host families for two weeks.

Russell said the school still is seeking host families for this year.

“I think some parents are (hesitant), because they either don’t necessarily have an understanding of the Asian culture, or they’re not familiar with it, so they’re nervous about what they don’t know about it, but we’ve had some fantastic host families in the past that have done a great job.”

Many host families will host the same student year after year during their time at NSA. After their first exchange student graduates, some host families will take on another exchange student.

Fall classes will begin on Aug. 21. Exchange students will come to the school a week early for a special orientation and tour that will help them acclimate to the campus and meet several of their teachers.

An additional six exchange students will be coming into the school through Nacel Open Door, an exchange program with which NSA has been working for some time. All 13 students will be in grades 9-12.