A group of international students are visiting Central New York this week as they learn more about college life in the United States as well as right here in our backyard.
Many of them are also here to get a glimpse of the American culture.
Over forty students from China who have never been in our country made their first stop right here in Central New York at Herkimer County Community College.
"I think it's free... I like the freedom," explained one Chinese student.
47 middle school and high school students are visiting the U.S. over the next two weeks to learn more about college life as well as experience how American's go about their everyday lives.
For all of the students it's their first time stepping foot on U.S. And their first stop Herkimer county community college.
HCCC's Dean of Students, Matthew Hawes says a two-year college career is unheard of in China, which is why he says HCCC is an ideal location for the students to learn more about the institution.
"Get your two year associate degree then transfer to one of our wonderful colleges in our SUNY system or private colleges or any college in the united states," said Hawes.
HCCC welcomes over 100 international students from 16 different countries. The dean says he expects that number to rise.
HCCC has been working with Bright Vision in China, an organization that helps Chinese students who want to pursue an education in America.
"I think it's a perfect program for most of Chinese students because it's much easier for them and more affordable," said Charles Zhao, the owner of Bright Vision.
Zhao says getting an associate's degree is appropriate. He says thousands of his students have enrolled in community colleges in places like Seattle and Pennsylvania.
But, Charles says it's not all about the education. "We just hope our kids can experience a different culture and different places in America. Herkimer is very new for them," said Zhao.
Students will also get a taste of American cooking. They'll have a BBQ dinner at the dean's house. After their stop here, the students will be visiting of New York City, Boston as well as Washington D.C.