FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 world language teacher Lisa Dalrymple is moving the International Student Program forward a year ahead of schedule at Mt. Blue Campus.

“The whole purpose of this is to re-establish the elementary world language program and create a stronger world language program overall,” she said.

The elementary program and the district’s Chinese studies were eliminated in 2010 because of budget constraints.

Dalrymple, who teaches at Mt. Blue High School, is the coordinator of the program she introduced to the school board last year. She is working on developing partnerships, dual diplomas, marketing and promoting the program.

Dalrymple worked all last summer and received approval from the federal government for the district to accept tuition from international students. They will also pay room and board.

The approval was expected to be done in the second year of a three-year plan but approval came in the first year, which was much quicker than expected, she said.


Dalrymple went to China in November and among her stops were Beijing and the Province of Anhui. The trip was paid for by the Chinese government.

Students that have an F1 visa — meaning they would pay tuition and room and board — will be allowed to attend school for one year in the district. The district can also accept students with a J1 visa, which means that they are there for a cultural experiences but don’t pay tuition or room and board. The acceptance of the latter type of visa students will be limited, Dalrymple said.

She is hoping to bring in at least one F1 student next year and do a home stay, which means a family would host the student and be compensated.

The initial plan had the district bringing in three international students and revenue in the third year.

China’s system of learning and the U.S. education system are really different, she said.

The student numbers are so unbelievable, she said. So many kids live in dormitories because they end up not going home except for Chinese New Year and summer vacation.


Among her stops was one high school that housed grades 10, 11 and 12 and had 10,000 students.

She also attended many meetings and workshops and made a lot of handshakes.

“Networking is super, super important. You have to develop those relationships,” she said.

Knowing the country’s culture is a must, she said.

“It is not just about understanding the language but understanding the culture,” she said.

A principal and assistant principal of a school in China that serves 50,000 students visited Mt. Blue Campus. They were impressed with the classroom sizes and the offerings the school had for technical education and academics, she said.


Dalrymple is working on creating partnerships with a variety of places, including China, the University of Maine at Farmington and Thornton Academy, and networking in state and beyond. International students are allowed to attend one year at a public school but can go to a private school for multiple years.

The Mt. Blue program is listed on the Maine International Trade Center website at The Mt. Blue program can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on StudyMaine.

It is also on the StudyMaine website Check under the high school listing and Mt. Blue is on page 10. It is also on the StudyMaine Facebook page at

“We created a Mt. Blue Campus website (, which has the International Student Program on it,” she said.

Staff and students at the campus have pitched in to promote the program, develop a website and create a video and brochures. There is also a Twitter site and they are working on a Facebook page.

“It’s very exciting,” she said.

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