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Exchange students get the Texas treatment

Feb 15, 2017 | Community Relations

What is the most Texan thing to do for out of town visitors?

A group of teachers and students visiting Foster and Lamar Consolidated high schools from Ping Tung, Taiwan got the full tour.

“We’ve tried to give them the full experience,” said Foster High School Assistant Principal Brian Forshee. “The students were a mix of city and rural students and we took them to the Ag Barn. Many had never touched a live chicken.”

Five adults and 15 students from DongGang Senior High School, located on the southwest coast of the island of Taiwan, spent 12 days at Foster High School. The students stayed with host families and shadowed a host student.

The students are part of an exchange program involving Lamar CISD and Ping Tung Taiwan.

“They went to the same classes as their host,” Forshee said, “unless there was a test. In that case we gave them the chance to see something they were interested in, whether it was an art class, culinary class or yearbook.”

Forshee said they also visited a ranch, so the students could see horses. 

“I decided not to chance putting one of the kids on a horse,” he said.

One of the big interests of the students was the transportation system. Students at their school use private transportation. Parents drop off the student, or the student has a scooter. Being driven to school by a classmate or using a school bus was totally foreign to the group.

“The only school bus they’d ever seen was in a movie,” Forshee said. He said they group was quite excited to witness dismissal from the bus porch.

Forshee said he found discussing education philosophy with his Taiwan counterparts to be quite interesting. 

“Getting into a top high school in Taiwan is like getting into a top college for U.S. kids,” he said. “A family’s whole future can be decided just by getting into the ‘right school.’ It is very different from what we are used to in the United States.