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Turlock Christian shows Chinese students agriculture of the Valley
chinese students
Oscar Ou Bu Wen reaches out to pet a calf at the C.A. Russell Dairy in Hilmar. For Wen and his fellow Turlock Christian International Program participants, it was their first time seeing a cow. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Turlock Christian Elementary School welcomed a group of Chinese students to their campus this week, sharing with them the surrounding agricultural sights and sounds of the Valley and even giving them their first glimpse of a cow.

With the assistance of a translator, the Jin-Shan Primary School students were shuttled to various stops in and around Turlock. First, the students spent time in class at TC elementary. From there, the group, which included third and fourth graders, took a tour of Hilmar Cheese where they were able to make ice cream and see how cheese is made. The Turlock Christian International Program focused on providing an experience the students would never be able to have back home.

“They’ve seen the city stuff – they live in it,” said International Student Coordinator Steve Doerksen. “We wanted to bring them out here to see the crops and how their food is made.”

The students also visited Associated Feed and Supply Co. in Hughson, where they learned how feed is stored and distributed, and C.A. Russell Dairy in Hilmar. At the dairy, the students learned how a cow is milked and visited with the dairy’s calves. For all of the Chinese students, it was the first time they had stepped foot on a dairy or seen a cow.

For student Oscar Ou Bu Wen, it was an entirely new experience. Before visiting the dairy, he believed that all cows were black and white. When he saw the brown colorings on the Russell’s Jersey cows, he said, it surprised him.

“Showing them around the dairy is the most joyous thing,” said dairy owner Kirsten Russell. “Sometimes when I’m out here I take it for granted, and to see the excitement on their faces is just amazing.”

Following their Turlock visit, the group of Chinese students will travel to Woodland Christian School to see more of the state.

The Turlock Christian International Program is currently home to over 40 students from around the world, including China, Korea and Mexico. Since the earliest admittance into the program is junior high school, the young students’ visit was a way to introduce them to the area in hopes that they return for schooling when old enough.

“We feel blessed to be able to live here and do what we do,” said Doerksen. “To get to show these kids some of it is special.”