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Lyon College hosts Chinese students
Lyon College hosts Chinese students

BATESVILLE — Thirty-three Chinese junior high school students stood open-mouthed at the sight before them. That sight was Lyon College’s Becknell Gymnasium. For most of the students, this was their first time seeing an indoor basketball court.

The Chinese students along with four teachers visited the Lyon College campus for seven days last week to participate in English as a second language courses.

Quanzhou Group Leader Alex Wang said this is the first time in the United States for many of the students and teachers.

“They are surprised at the facilities here,” he said of the students. “Everything is so nice. They like it here. They haven’t seen an indoor basketball court. Most of the basketball courts in China are outdoors. They are excited about getting to play basketball indoors.”

The students, who are staying in the Lyon College residence halls, spend each day in English class, learning more about the language.

“English is not too hard to learn,” Wang said. “They need to practice everyday. This gives them more of an opportunity to open their mouths and speak. Most of the students don’t want to speak because they know they have accents. But this gives them confidence.”

Teacher Ming Youfa said he wants to apply what he learns at Lyon College to his classroom in China.

“I want to learn how to teach English better to my students,” he said, noting he only allows English in his class.

When they are not in class, the students experienced activities on campus such as basketball, bouldering, swimming and outdoor activities.

“When we first got here they were asking about swimming in the pool,” teacher Liu Yongsheng said with a laugh. “They wanted to play games, watch movies, see the library and play basketball.”

Wang said the United States trip is fun and exciting for the students, many of whom have never traveled outside of China.

“It’s a positive experience of life on an American campus,” he said.

After their time at Lyon, the group will visit Washington D. C., New York and Massachusetts.

Lyon College also will host several other Chinese groups in the upcoming weeks.

Twenty-four students from the University of Shanghai Electric Power are on campus this week to also participate in English as a second language classes.

A second college group will arrive in Batesville next month to learn more about the United States and the English language.

This fall, 13 Chinese professors will travel to Batesville to shadow Lyon College professors during their classes.