McKeel Academy of Technology in Lakeland is known as a charter school that specializes in science and math, and now the school can add international host to its resume.
The school welcomed 10 South African students along with two South African teachers and their principal. The group came to the United States to learn about the American education system.
"Since I got here I got a warm welcome," said South African 12th grader Neo Malngabi. "People here are very nice."
He said after a week in the U.S. it's already clear there are many differences between the South African education system and the American system.
"What you guys do in the 7th grade is mostly what we do in the 11th grade and the 12th grade," said Malngabi.
Malngabi's principal, George Makhubele, says the U.S. education system is advanced in many ways from the technology available to students to the skills they learn in class.
"America is even one of the best curriculum in the whole world, so this is the right place for us to come and learn," Makhubele said.
This isn't just a learning experience for the South Africans though. McKeel Academy 8th grader Savannah Plunkett said having a student shadow her for the day has given her a unique perspective.
"Their school, their schools are really lacking what we have, and I didn't realize how blessed I was to have this opportunity and to have the school that I do, so I'm really going to appreciate it a lot more," Plunkett said.
McKeel teacher Melissa Robertson says the whole experience has been enlightening for students and teachers from both countries.
"To learn that they do not have the technology available to them that we have available to us really brings to light just how fortunate we are with our education and our school system," Robertson said.
The group from South Africa will next experience the American public school system when they head to Lake Gibson Middle and High Schools tomorrow.
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