By Tia Lynn Ivy
The Farmhouse Inn welcomed 110 Chinese exchange students last weekend, hosting the annual summer program through Georgia Technical College. The Farmhouse Inn, located on the outskirts of Madison, is owned and operated by Dr. Ellis Johnson, a retired professor from Georgia Tech, and his wife, Crystal Johnson who migrated to America from China herself.
For over 10 years, the couple has welcomed exchange students every summer to visit their farm in an effort to showcase rural life in the South and highlight the history of Madison and Morgan County. The students arrived at the charming Farmhouse Inn for an afternoon of rural exploration, local history, and regional cuisine.
“It’s an excellent cross-cultural and educational experience for them,” said Charles Dubose, assistant manager at The Farmhouse Inn. “We gave a presentation on the history of Madison and Morgan County and showed them some of our practices here at the farm concerning sustainability. They had the opportunity to interact with the farm animal and go canoeing and kayaking out on the lake. It’s just a very different environment out here than what they are used to back in China. Rural Georgia is a unique and fun experience for them.”
After the students learned about the founding of Morgan County and the antebellum history through the Civil War, they also visited the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center and headed into the historic district of Madison for ice cream and sightseeing.
“They just love it,” said Dubose.
The Johnsons believe they are able to give these students a unique experience, since most exchange programs focus on exposing foreign exchange students to the bigger cities. They look forward to welcoming future exchange students in coming years, hoping the Farmhouse Inn will be an unforgettable part of their grand adventure studying in America.