Aveson School Offers Unique Cultural Opportunity

The Pasadena area is known for its amazingly eclectic assortment of private and charter schools. Each has its own set of goals, strengths, and culture, giving our region its educational robustness.

The Aveson Charter School in Altadena has a one of a kind relationship with a sister school in Bejing, China. The school, Fang Cao Di International School, has sent 67 students to join the 800 American children to learn and be immersed in our culture. It is Aveson’s second year working with the foreign students, with the intent to send some of their local students to Beijing in May.

Tom Hyatt of Aveson Charter School sat down with us and let us in on some of what makes Aveson so special.

Aveson has been hosting students from China for four years, Hyatt said, and has been pleased with the results. The Chinese students immensely enjoyed coming here and learning about the American culture.

Hyatt explains that the Chinese students are, “immersed in our classrooms and engaged in electives and some exploration of our community. I’m going to take them on a tour of Pasadena, take them out to the Science Center, Staple Center, Dodgers Stadium… We also get to do Disneyland, Universal [Studios], and the Santa Monica Pier. We’re really exposing them to our culture in our community.”

The 3rd-8th grade students will also have work in the classroom. A student leader guides them through their daily routine. An interesting part is that the Chinese children will work together to present a program about their culture and traditions to the school and their new American friends. They will be able to to perform talents that they have that show and relate to their way of life.

Hyatt adds; “It’s truly rewarding to the students of both schools to be exposed to their culture and that different perspective. I think it helps teach students empathy and build respect [for the different] culture and the friendship.”

What forms between the students, in the end, can honestly be described as friendship. “They continue to email each other once they leave, share pictures and highlights of their personal lives,” smiles Hyatt. “It’s a great thing for the kids.”

That is truly amazing for children to be given the opportunity to create and keep long lasting international relationships. In this day and age, long after the Chinese students go home, the friendships can continue to blossom.

Hyatt says another positive aspect of the program is simply, “sparking their interest in travel and exploring the world. It is definitely important for children and adults to remember and embrace that we are part of a global community.”

Hyatt adds, “Our kids here in Aveson are going to be exposed to different cultures and different ideas and have an opportunity to see them, experience them; it’s vital.”

That is what we think truly makes this school special.

For more information on Aveson please visit http://www.aveson.org/agla.


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