FARMINGTON – Regional School 9 directors voted Tuesday to approve a trip to China this fall for some world language students at Mt. Blue Campus.

World language teacher Lisa Dalrymple is coordinator of the International Student Program at the campus, which includes Mt. Blue High School. She told the school board she received an email last week offering the opportunity for students to go to Beijing. The offer came from one of the Chinese agents she has partnered with to bring tuition-paying students from that country to Mt. Blue Campus.

The agent had visited the school in June.

“They were extremely impressed with our school,” she said.

She didn’t know about the student opportunity until the last minute, she said.

It would be a great opportunity for American and Chinese students to meet and create a stronger partnership, Dalrymple said.

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There are three tuition-paying students studying at Mt. Blue, two of them from Beijing. There were two students from China last year.

On Friday, Sept. 23, she sent information to world language students about the trip and by Tuesday, 15 students notified her they were interested.

Students would be responsible for paying for their airfare, passport, visa and travel insurance. Once students arrive in Beijing, there is no cost for travel and housing, only personal expenses.

The cost for airfare and related items for each student was estimated at about $2,000 or more. If the trip were approved, they would get the exact cost.

Students have been invited to Beijing from Nov. 5 through 12.

“I was surprised how many students were interested,” Dalrymple said.

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Initially the trip was limited to six, but it was expanded to include more students.

Two teachers are willing to chaperone the students on the trip. The funds for their airfare and other expenses will come from the International Student Program tuition account. Dalrymple estimated there was about $40,000 in the account.

Chaperones will be responsible for setting up parent meetings, coordinate students and be responsible for them on the trip.

Money from the account is used to support expenses for establishing the program. The idea behind the program approved by the board in 2014 is to use money from the tuition to restore world language to the district’s lower grades and to support high school students who want to study abroad to expand their knowledge about other cultures.

One of Dalrymple’s goals is to establish partnerships so they have a set of schools to work with.

If the trip is a success this year, Dalrymple said they could look into fundraising for next year to possibly offer scholarships to students who want to go but cannot afford it.

Sites students will visit on the trip are the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square with Chinese students, the Olympic Stadium and the Great Wall of China.

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