TCLP Alumnus School, Lakes International Language Academy (LILA), received funding to help implement a CLP titled “Welcome, Friends!” in cooperation with Deyang Forest Language School in China. This project provided an exciting English-immersion learning experience for 22 visiting students from China and forged new international friendships. During a two-week summer camp on the school's campus, Chinese and American students strengthened skills in their respective target languages by speaking to one another in casual settings, traveling, and participating in fun activities.
LILA teachers gained experience in teaching English as a second language, which is a different but positive perspective than teaching immersion Spanish or Chinese to native English speakers. In addition, the host families in the community shared the language-learning experience, building interest in long-term hosting and cultural exchanges.The opportunity to meet and interact with Chinese guests helped expose the community to a different culture, celebrating diversity while appreciating their similarities. The positive and lasting impact of this project was visible in the progress that Chinese students made in building their English skills and the fast friendships that the Chinese and American students (and their families!) made during the camp. As a result of the project, LILA has strengthened the relationship with the school's sister school and helped introduce students and families in the community to a broader cultural experience.