Don’t miss Part I of this article, which lays out the step-by-step planning for the two-way school-to-school partnership exchange program from September to December. This article advises on planning from the January to April.
January to February
First Parent-Student Meeting
As our second semester is beginning, we hold our first meeting with the finalized group of families. This meeting provides an opportunity for all of the parents and students to meet one another. I give them an overall outline of how we will get ready for the trip, review the costs, and outline the timeline for making payments. In addition, we also cover the following topics:
Launch Planning for Hosting Itinerary: With our program, the itinerary is primarily the responsibility of the parents. At this first meeting, I explain the overall process and give them a sample itinerary from a previous year as well as some general ideas about what activities the Chinese side expects. I also note the one or two activities that I will plan myself (ones that require involvement from contacts that I have), and I give them feedback on their ideas paying particular attention to safety issues. This approach allows the families to take ownership of the itinerary. Each year’s itinerary is unique, reflecting the community connections, experiences, and resources that each family can offer. As a note, we build in three structured English classes for the Chinese students on our side, and three Chinese classes for the American students in Mudanjiang. The remaining time is divided between group activities and individual family time.