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BC foreign travel ban lifted

Group of students and teachers to spend spring break in China

Nearly a decade after the Bethlehem Central School District put a hold on overseas travel, a group of high school students will be making a foray halfway around the world during the upcoming spring break.

Forty-three BC students will depart April 1 to spend nine days in China. The trip will include visits not only to sites of historical significance like the famous terra cotta soldier army near Xian and the Great Wall near Beijing, but a visit to the modern city of Shanghai, where China's financial district is found.

Global studies teacher Marsha Buanno-Mackey said it should be an eye-opening experience not only for the students, but for the six teacher chaperones, as well. This is to be the district's first China trip.

You can't really talk about what's happening in the world today without talking about China, she said. "As global teachers, we're as excited as the kids."

In addition to taking in the sights in three cities, the group will visit a school and apartment complex and sit down to dinner with a Chinese family.

"We'll hopefully have that experience of what life is like for the average citizen," Buanno said.

The trip to China will be the first overseas excursion since the district imposed a moratorium on such travel in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Board of Education authorized the trip several months ago.

"We felt in the last year or so the climate had changed, and perhaps we could go back to the school board," Buanno said. "This is something that we as a school can offer that a family perhaps cannot on their own."

Also over spring break, a contingent of French language students will visit that country as part of an immersion program.

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