VALPARAISO | As part of the cultural exchange that has brought many Chinese students to Valparaiso University, Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas will go on a nine-day trip to Jiaxing, China beginning next week.
"I'm looking forward to my visit to China and see this as a valuable investment of my time for the future of our community," Costas said.
The trip is part of an outreach program for Lumenus USA Institute for Global Citizenship at VU and is being privately funded through Lumenus. Costas is a co-founder of Lumenus with Chuck Williams, who also will make the trip. Lumenus CEO Eric Froelich will accompany the two.
Lumenus provides transitional training services for Chinese high school graduates, giving them a year of intensive immersion in American culture to improve their chances of success in an American university setting.
"The Lumenus experience helps students become more proficient in English and more comfortable in the United States, adding to their confidence and success when they enroll at Valparaiso University," Costas said.
The cultural exchange also is good for the city's economy because each student spends about $50,000 for the yearlong immersion program for housing, tuition and living expenses. Lumenus hopes to host 50 to 100 students in the coming year.
During the trip Costas will not only be in daily contact with City Hall but also plans to share his experiences on the city's Facebook page Valparaiso Now.