Nine students from LaSalle University in Cancun will be visiting Wichita from Jan. 5 to Feb. 3, 2011, as part of a Sister Cities Exchange. The students are from Friends University's sister university in Cancun and are coming to the University to intensively study English as a second language. They will also have an opportunity to sit in on regular university classes related to their field of study. Dr. Jerry Smartt, director of foreign languages and professor of Spanish, said many of these students also enjoy observing classes in art, music and dance because these subject areas aren’t offered at La Salle University.
As part of their exchange experience, the students and their chaperone, Edgar Garcia, will be staying with local host families. Garcia has chaperoned exchanges like this for a number of years, and has grown very fond of Wichita and Friends University. As part of the English second language curriculum, the group will experience some of the cultural offerings of Wichita, including tours and classes at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the Sedgwick County Zoo.
In addition to education-oriented activities, they plan to go ice skating in Wichita and travel to Colorado for a skiing trip. The Wichita City Council will also recognize them as special visitors at one of their weekly meetings. The students will use reading, writing, blogging and other online activities to enhance the exchange experience while they get to know more about the history and culture of their Sister City. This exchange is always beneficial to everyone involved, from the visiting students to their host families and Friends students they will meet. This year will be no exception.