FALMOUTH — A group of students from Beijing is visiting Falmouth schools this week, furthering the district’s effort to promote global education and prepare to welcome tuition students from abroad in the future.

Thirteen seventh- and eighth-graders from Beijing Bayi High School arrived Sunday for a three-day visit. They are staying with Falmouth Middle School eighth-graders, who are acting as hosts, tour guides and classroom buddies.

Born on opposite sides of the globe, Nicole Budri and Hu Yanjie, both 14, have enjoyed learning about the many ways that their lives are different and, yet, very much the same.

While Falmouth is a suburban community of about 11,000 residents, Beijing is one of the world’s largest cities, with nearly 20 million residents.

“What we consider traffic here is nothing in Beijing,” Nicole said Monday. “But we like the same music — Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha.”

Both also dislike milk and running as a sport, Yanjie said.

Yanjie noted that her school requires students to wear uniforms and prohibits pierced ears and flip-flops, which she saw on some Falmouth students. She also noted the size of Nicole’s house and the fact that Nicole’s family eats dinner together every night.

“We live in an apartment, we don’t have a big house, so we can’t have pets,” Yanjie said. “They have a cat and a dog and a guinea pig. And her family eats dinner together on a very, very big table, and that is very good.”

The Chinese students visited the Portland Observatory and Portland Head Light on Sunday, and toured Falmouth elementary, middle and high schools on Monday.

Today, they will visit L.L. Bean in Freeport, the DeLorme map company in Yarmouth and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, on a tour led by Suzanne Fox, president of Fox Intercultural Consulting Services in Falmouth and Portland.

The students came to the United States last week to compete in the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn., which attracted more than 1,200 problem-solving teams from 13 countries. They also visited Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, with stops at Columbia, Princeton, Yale and Harvard universities.

The Falmouth school district, which has 2,155 students, has set a goal to provide educational programs that encourage interest in and understanding of different cultures and civilizations, said Superintendent Barbara Powers. It’s also one of several public school districts in Maine that are responding to growing Chinese demand for educational opportunities in the United States.

The district is developing a sister-school relationship with Beijing Bayi High School to promote various student exchange programs. That includes the possibility of recruiting Chinese students who would pay tuition to attend Falmouth High School, which is expected to have room to start accepting international students within a few years, Powers said.

Beijing Bayi High School was founded in 1947 to serve children of members of the People’s Liberation Army. Today, it has 3,000 students in grades 7 through 12 and a curriculum that emphasizes technology and the arts. Its graduates include Xi Jinping, vice president of the People’s Republic of China, who this year was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

The Beijing students said Falmouth students have shorter school days, fewer rules, much smaller classes and more interaction with teachers. Falmouth Middle School classes have about 25 students each, compared with 45 to 60 students in Beijing. Falmouth students also have individual laptop computers provided by the school district — something students don’t have in Beijing.

Chang Shuyan, a technology teacher who accompanied the group from Beijing, said he liked the way Falmouth teachers expanded math and science lessons beyond lectures to give students real-world problem-solving and hands-on experience. Chinese students would benefit from that approach, he said.

In one eighth-grade math class Monday, Wang Jingyuan helped Emma Walsh with a symmetry lesson that involved folding paper into designated shapes.

Jingyuan said it was her favorite class during her visit.

“That’s one thing about math,” Emma said. “It’s the same all around the world.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]