The sentence gave me a pause. It seemed awkward. I suggested that he change it to, "It was nearing the end of summer vacation, a time when exchange students bid farewell to their colleagues."
In the next paragraph, I found, "Starting out as lab partners, our pair-up had resulted in winning several competitions." Several paragraphs down, "Glancing at his startled face, humiliation and rage built up in me."
I knew there was a problem! This student, and oh so many others, need to know the "participial phrase rule." To quote Strunk and White,
Rule #11) A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
Who started as lab partners? The author should say "we" - not "our pair-up."
Who glanced at his startled face? The author should follow the comma with "I."
- Starting out as lab partners, we had gone on to win several major competitions.
- Glancing at his startled face, I felt my humiliation and rage build up."
Here's a great blog called "Grammar Tip of the Day" with more examples.
Rewrite the title of this blog.
Reading your essays, I felt frustrated.