Millbrook to welcome Chinese exchange students

Posted June 23, 2011 10:09 a.m. EDT
Updated June 23, 2011 11:14 a.m. EDT

Five high school juniors from the elite Beijing Royal School in China will spend the coming school year in Wake County as part of an exchange tied to Millbrook High's Chinese language program. Students from Millbrook will spend the year at the boarding school living in the dormitories and eating Chinese food. 

The Beijing Royal School is a non-traditional program, which accepts only high-achieving students, and courses are taught in English.

Sue Fleming-Hansen, regional manager for International Student Exchange, is working to arrange host families for the Chinese students, all boys, in the Millbrook area.

"These are pretty mature kids who need only meals, a bed and a caring environment," she said. "The biggest complaint we get about Chinese students is they study too much." 

The boys will arrive in the United States on a student visa about five days before school begins in August and stay a few days beyond the end of the school year in June 2012.

The State Department monitors ISE and other student exchange programs to ensure that students and host families have a safe, rewarding experience. Both parties submit references and undergo a criminal background check, and ISE visits the host home to answer any questions before the students arrive.

During their stay, ISE local representatives check in on the families and are available to resolve any issues that arise, Fleming-Hansen said.

"Host families can be families with young children, empty nesters, single people without kids," she said. "Most important is to have a host interested in international understanding and one who cares enough to explain American ways to their guests."

ISE provides the group with opportunities to travel elsewhere in the U.S. during the exchange. "If a family travels and includes their exchange student, that is wonderful, but it is not expected," Fleming-Hansen said.

Millbrook will host the five Chinese students plus up to five from other countries in 2011-12. Across Wake County, schools will welcome students from more than 50 nations, Fleming-Hansen said. "Wake County schools see the value of providing cultural interaction for kids. We have a lot of kids who will never travel abroad and will never go to China, so this is a great opportunity to bring China to us."

Families interested in hosting a Chinese student are asked to call International Student Exchange toll-free at 866-692-7017. Information about ISE's programs and what it takes to be a host is available at