Ministry of Education delegates from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia visit World Link Hanford and Visalia exchange students.
Hanford West High School and Sierra Pacific High School in Hanford, California, were specially selected by the by FLEX Program representatives in the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C, to host a visit of delegates from the offices of the Ministry of Education in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.
The Hanford area was selected for the visit due to the record of achievement of foreign exchange students placed in Hanford and the surrounding area. Students in this area have volunteered over 2,000 community service hours and have given over 850 cultural presentations since their U.S. arrival a few months ago.
World Link was asked to help arrange the host site tour by American Councils for International Education who organized the delegates U.S. visit. The FLEX Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State; is a popular exchange program in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia, and the representatives were visiting the U.S. to observe how the students are interacting with their host families and host schools.
After a four-day visit to Washington D.C., the Ministry of Education delegates; Lyubov Shchitka from Ukraine, Nurseit Baizhanov from Kazakhstan, and Tamar Todria from Georgia started their California visit on December 8th by dining with Hanford and Fresno host families. Thank you to Brandon and Anna Balbina, Adam and Amy Medeiros, and Ron and Elena Snarr for opening your homes to this visit.
The following morning, the delegates met with William Fishbough, Superintendent of Hanford Joint Unified High School District to learn about the important role foreign exchange students play in American high schools. The delegation then travelled to Sierra Pacific High School to see first-hand the structure and style of academics in the American high school system.
During lunch, World Link National Staff introduced them to the organization’s advanced leadership training program designed to produce alumni who will go on to improve their home countries. Following lunch, the delegates enjoyed a second school visit to Hanford West High School where they could learn and see the impact extra-curricular activities and clubs have on American high school students.
The international visitors were impressed with the amount of community involvement that existed in Hanford and the role of extra-curricular activities in linking the school’s mission with the community that it serves.
“The time spent in Washington, DC. learning about the program administration was a lesson for the mind, but the visit to Hanford was a lesson for the heart.”
– Georgian delegate Tamar
After the high school visits, delegates traveled to a local cattle ranch outside of Visalia, California owned by World Link host family James and Nickie Henderson. The Henderson’s were kind enough to give a tour of their facility and to host a Californian BBQ.
The three international visitors took the opportunity to listen to stories from the students and their local coordinators who attended the dinner about adapting to California and what lessons they are learning about what real Americans are like. The delegates learned California is not just Hollywood and were delighted to experience the agricultural production center of the U.S.
World Link was honored to host these three representatives from the respective Ministries of Education of Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Thank you to American Councils for International Education for including the Hanford-Visalia cluster group in this visit.