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Saugus High School welcomes exchange students for the summer

Posted: July 22, 2014 4:50 p.m.
Updated: July 22, 2014 4:50 p.m.

Chinese students celebrate New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Day during the first day of the English Immersion Summer Camp on July 14. Photo courtesy of Saugus High School


Twenty-three exchange students and two teachers from Xi’an, China, have the opportunity to experience United States culture this summer through a 19-day English Immersion Camp held at Saugus High School.

The students participating in the camp are part of the Santa Clarita International Exchange and came to Santa Clarita to improve their English and learn about American history and culture.

Each of the students, who are all between 15 and 16 years of age, live with a host family that provides a bed, breakfast and dinner for the students. The group spends weekdays taking classes at Saugus High School.

On the weekends, host families plan activities for the students such as beach days or movie nights.

The Saugus High School China exchange program as a whole was established in 2005 by Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde and Madam Jiao of GaoXin No. 1 High School in Xi’an, China.

The program aims to “allow families in two communities 7,000 miles apart an opportunity to understand each other’s educational, historical, political and economical values,” according to Bolde.

The nonprofit organization, Santa Clarita International Exchange (SCIE), was created in 2012 to help fund both the spring and summer exchange programs between Saugus and GaoXin No. 1., and to “continue this program which has enriched so many lives,” according to Patty Stephenson, China Exchange Coordinator for Saugus High School and president of the SCIE.

“For nearly everyone, the experience is life-changing,” said Stephenson. “Nearly all of them will say that they have changed through the exchange experience.”

This summer, the exchange students will attend a Universal Studios tour, learn to play baseball, spend a day at Disneyland and take a Los Angeles bus tour.

During classes at Saugus High School, they will learn material such as English, drama, history, chemistry and leadership. The classes also devote a day to each of the most celebrated American holidays, including Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.

“It is great to be with my host family to do what they do,” said Shi Borui, a student who is a part of the English Immersion Program. “My favorite part of the trip so far has been Universal Studios.”

The program ends with a farewell banquet on July 29, where students and host families will speak about their experiences and how the exchange program has affected them.

“Lives are changed forever when you choose to be involved with the China exchange program,” said Bolde. “Those who have been involved can tell you that it is one of the most memorable events of their lives.”

For more information on the Santa Clarita International Exchange, or to find more ways to get involved, visit the SCIE website at or contact Patty Stephenson at




FunTimeSportSharks: Posted: July 23, 2014 3:38 p.m.

What a terrific program! Wish the Hart School district would add Chinese to a second high school in the district (particularly Golden Valley). I think there is enough interest in Chinese district wide that more students would take this language at Golden Valley if it was offered there (and I'm sure it would take some pressure off of Saugus with the transfers in for this specific language). Does anyone know if the Hart district gives students credit if they learn a language through an outside language program that isn't offered at the school the student goes to?

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