One of the most astonishing things Seibert saw took place during the group's trip to Mount Hua, also known as Hua Shan.
The Chinese have constructed steep stairs up the sides of the 7,000-foot mountain. There, the American students saw men walking up the stairs with sticks over their shoulders, upon which they carried food and water.
"These are old guys too," Walker said.
"The one we asked said he was 78," Seibert said.
One elderly man was playing a flute while he climbed with the heavy load. Walker thought the paths to the mountaintop were scary, but Seibert found the effort rewarding.
"It was worth it when you got to the top — it was beautiful," she said.
The students also enjoyed their host families and fellow students.
"The kids were so great," said Cori Perloski, 14, a rising sophomore at Hereford High. Cori, however, realized early on that one must learn how to say "no."
"The first week (in China) you realize you have to be really aggressive when you don't want food because they will keep feeding you for hours and hours," Cori said of her host family.
"You learn how to say, 'I don't want' in Chinese really quickly," she said.
The Chinese students were generous as well. Walker learned that when she complimented one of her Chinese counterparts on a bow she had in her hair.
"I said, 'Oh, I like your bow,' and she took it off and gave it to me," Walker said. "Lots of gift-giving."
Seibert had the same experience.
While in the city with her host family, she happened to look at a table of purses shaped like animals. Her host mother bought one for her when she wasn't looking — a pink poodle purse.
Learning to say "I don't want" was important not only in dealing with the kindness of host families and Chinese students.
Street sellers were aggressive as well, attempting to pull the students by the arm back to their tent or table to try to sell them something, the girls said, amused.
Chinese households were, at first, a little surprising to the American students.
The beds — bamboo mattresses with a bedspread on top as a mattress — "are like rocks," Seibert said.
"I was lucky," Cori said. "I had a western bed."