QC Christian School gives Chinese students language, culture lessons

Posted Online: Aug. 08, 2014, 11:40 am
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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com
MOLINE -- American versions of Chinese food fascinated Chinese grade-school students at a summer camp.

Visiting a local farm and touring Lincoln sites in Springfield fascinated them, Quad Cities Christian School international studies director Dave Timmons said.

A group of 55 students, mostly fourth- and fifth-graders, and seven adult chaperones from Urumqi, China, spent the first two weeks in July at a Quad Cities Language and Culture summer camp. Another group of 35 Chinese students and six chaperones spent the last two weeks at the camp, held at Quad Cities Christian, 4000 11th St., Moline.

The school hosted its first camp for Chinese students last year, Mr. Timmons said. "It was so well received on the Chinese end, they asked if we could expand it this year. The only way we could that was by breaking it into two parts."

Plans are to run the camp again next July, but balance the numbers a little better, he said. "The first group of 55 was a bit overwhelming" in terms of finding host families and transportation arrangements, he said.

Attendance more than doubled from the camp's first year, Mr. Timmons said.

Host families mainly consisted of parents affiliated with the Moline school, he said, adding that Harvest Bible Chapel, in Bettendorf, also lent a helping housing hand.

People interested in being host families next year can email him at davet634@yahoo.com or call 309-912-3673.

Host families get a chance to learn about Chinese culture "from a part of the world we don't know a lot about," Mr. Timmons said.

Urumqi is in an extreme northwest area of China, "and it's not common for people there to come to America," he said.

Chinese students have a couple primary goals while attending camp, Mr. Timmons said. "They're here to work on their English, and they're here to learn things about American culture."

When Chinese students arrived ln the Quad-Cities, they were broken into three teams, named Red, White, and Blue.

They also picked American-sounding names, including one girl who named herself "Cake," Mr. Timmons said.

Quad Cities Christian School faculty led morning English language lessons, "and then we mixed in field trips," he said. Classes in "conversation/recreation, English, and American history/culture were held weekday mornings.

Special events and field trips included a "welcome picnic" at Moline's Ben Butterworth Parkway; a Quad Cities River Bandits baseball game; a visit to Coal Valley's Niabi Zoo; a trip to New Salem Village and the Lincoln Museum in Springfield; touring a local farm; shopping at the Coralville Mall and The Outlet Mall, both near Iowa City, and a Celebration Belle river cruise.

Students were enthralled by the volume of goods and choices at stores they visited, and were amazed by the food that was so unlike what they are used to eating in China, he said.

Chinese students ended the camp with a music and dance program for their hosts.

"Their No. 1 goal was to work on their English, and I thought it was a remarkable outcome," Mr. Timmons said. "In the short time period they were here, I noticed a change from beginning to end."


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  Today is Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.

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1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground.
1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students.
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