When Chinese New Year rolls around, Upper Arlington residents will have the opportunity to celebrate with 20 visitors from Beijing.

When Chinese New Year rolls around, Upper Arlington residents will have the opportunity to celebrate with 20 visitors from Beijing.

Twenty Chinese high school students are taking part in a Winter Camp program through the Beijing New Bridge (BNB) Foreign Language School.

Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5, Upper Arlington High School and the Upper Arlington Public Library, along with Ohio State University and Metro Early College High School, will host cultural exchange events with the Chinese students.

The visiting students will be introduced to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming at Metro High School and college level science classes at OSU. In addition, there will be field trips to several area museums and cultural sites around central Ohio.

The events are meant to provide the Chinese students with an immersion in American culture and to allow them to share Chinese culture with local residents, said Ruth McNeil, the library's community affairs manager.

McNeil said she was contacted by BNB coordinators Professor Lei Bao and Upper Arlington resident Jerry Weekly about the opportunity to work with the students.

"After hearing about the opportunity, I absolutely said yes!" she said. "We (UAPL) felt the timing of this was perfect to share in the students' celebration of the Chinese New Year and open that up to the community. It connects the library's commitment to providing opportunities for cultural awareness and educational enrichment."

On Feb. 2, staff at the main library, 2800 Tremont Road, will introduce the students to the public library system, giving them a chance to interact with librarians and take advantage of the library's collection. While learning about the library, they will research the American Civil Rights movement and create a presentation to be used as a part of the library's Black History Month events.

McNeil said she believes that this interaction involving the library, the guest students and the community is "the library at its best."

Following the UAPL visit, the students will spend Feb. 3 - the official kick-off of the Chinese New Year - at Upper Arlington High School.

While visiting the high school, the students will have an opportunity to shadow UAHS students to be further immersed into everyday American life, McNeil said.

UAHS students will attend one of two presentations during the day that will include a video introduction to modern-day Chinese life along with a question-and-answer session with the Chinese students.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 3, the Chinese students will return to the library for a community reception, where they will give a presentation on how Chinese New Year is celebrated around China. There will be another question-and-answer session about China and the students' experience in Upper Arlington.

This event is open to the public and will take place in the Friends Theater.

During their visit to the community, the students will stay with host families in Upper Arlington and the Tri-Village area.

The families are asked to provide housing and food during the short visit, as well as transportation to and from the planned events. Host families will enjoy the added benefit of experiencing one on one cultural exchange from the students living with them.

McNeil said the coordinators are currently working to secure host families for all 20 students participating in the cultural exchange program.

They are particularly interested in placing students in homes that have current high schoolers living at home, but all families interested in hosting one to two of the Chinese students for the week are welcome to apply, she said.

Those interested in applying to be a host family should register at www.beijingnewbridge.com/wintercamp/hostfamily. For more information about the community reception call McNeil at (614) 486-9621 or email rmcneil@ualibrary.org.