It was a classic example of East meets West when students from Center for Inquiry School 70 — an IPS International Baccalaureate school — and scholars from Hangzhou, China, spent a week together.

The visiting students from Hangzhou, along with their chaperons, arrived in Indianapolis Friday, Aug. 16., and spent a week in classrooms, at the Indiana State Fair, an Indianapolis Indians game, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and touring the IUPUI campus. They also stayed with CFI host families while in the country.

“This was the first time CFI 70 has hosted international students,” said Principal Christine Collier. CFI 2 and CFI 84 have hosted in previous years.

The visits work both ways. Students from China come here, and CFI students also visit Hangzhou. The China trip will happen during the district’s spring break in March 2020, with 24 students from a variety of IPS CFI schools attending.

“This will be the first international trip for CFI 70 students,” said Collier. “The visit was offered to middle school students in our Mandarin classes from all CFI schools.”

Indianapolis and Hangzhou are sister cities, and the educational exchange program is just one of the ways they partner with one another.

“The accompanying educators have the opportunity to see and experience education in the host city,” said Collier. “The students have the opportunity to experience how school works in the host city while also learning so much about the culture and practices of the host city.”

Collier believes the partnership — specifically the exchange program — offers numerous benefits for students from both countries.

“They are able to put their language learning to use as they share experiences at school, in host family homes, and in the city. They discover their sameness as global citizens and also what makes them unique,” she said. “As International Baccalaureate schools, CFI administrators and teachers actively seek experiences for our students that nurture the development of global mindedness and global understanding.”