By Kelsey Musick
Zionsville West Middle School welcomed 18 fifth-grade students from China the second full week of school. During their visit, students stayed with ZWest families who volunteered to host a student in their home.
Principal Matt Doublestein, who has been employed at ZWMS since it opened in 2005, said the 18 students came from Hangzhou, China, to experience life as a middle school student in the U.S.
“This was not the first time that we have had student visitors from China, but it was the longest visit we have had to date, and the first that included a home stay,” Doublestein said. “Each student stayed with a host family in Zionsville for the duration of the visit.”
The home visit was a large component. Students and families were able to make international friends through living together for the duration.
“The (Chinese) students also experienced school, and all aspects of school life, in our fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms with our partner ZWest students,” Doublestein said.
The visiting students and host families also took a field trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.
“We even hosted a family event with Fundae’s Ice Cream,” Doublestein said.
Doublestein said the school wants to conduct the program again.
“Reviews from families that participated were outstanding, and the relationships that have grown for our school and community continue to be beneficial across the world,” Doublestein said.