Having spent some time in a Chinese household, I was fortunate enough to be immersed in the Chinese culture and experience what it feels like to live in China. Compared to our daily lifestyles here in the US, specifically where we live, Jericho, it is much more different from how it is in China, where we spent the majority of our time 西安 (Xi’An). So in this article, you will read about my experiences in China and being able to spend some time immersed in a totally different culture.
The day we arrived in 西安, we went to 西安Middle School where we greeted with open arms by some of the school staff. We met the Director of the International School, as well as other members of the board. When we arrived at the assembly hall, where we would present in front of 500 students from the school with poems, dances, and an environmental sustainability slideshow presentation. We anxiously started rehearsing, in hopes that we would all do well during our presentation. When it came time to begin, I went up to recite my poem. I was filled with anxiety. I knew I was not going to pronounce the words correctly, and I was afraid that the students would make fun of me. That was when I realized a very important characteristic of all the students at the school, specifically those that were in the room with us. I realized there open heartedness, and nonjudgmental personality, which is one of the things that I love about them.
The funniest moment by far, was the first night that I was in 西安. The first night that I was there, a girl from the school had rushed me to the West Gate of the school where I would meet my exchange student. At first all was fine, I found my exchange student. We left the school, had dinner with his family, and then went home. However, when we arrived at his home, I realized I had none of my suitcases. I had no clothes at all! Through intense usage of Google Translate between me and 孙浩博‘s father, I told him my clothes were at the school, and without hesitation, he told me to put my shoes on so we could go to the school to get my bags. At this moment, I realized how fortunate I was, to be able to spend time in a home where these people I had barely met two hours ago, are willing to help me without thought, and are they are there to support me. I am truly grateful for his parents and everything they did for me during my stay.
The next day, when I went to the school with my exchange student 孙浩博，I was welcomed by many students, who only wanted to get my WeChat and be my friend. Other characteristics of the Chinese students are that they are all so friendly and look out for each other, as well they are very inclusive. In just this one day, I probably added around 15 people on my WeChat, and I still keep in contact with some of them. Within this same day, we went to an elementary school to teach the first graders English. Here is how their school is very different from our elementary schools. In each class, the students are very obedient, which I am extremely fond of. They only speak when called on, always pay close attention, and don’t even move, unless they are allowed to. Compared to how the first graders here in Jericho act, not that they are bad kids, that is just incredible.
Now skipping a few days, the last day that I was in China was perhaps one of the best days of the entire trip for me. The last day we had was spent with the exchange student and his family. However, all of the host families and Jericho students came together at the city wall in 西安， which was absolutely remarkable. We biked the entire wall, which was absolutely exhausting, went out for lunch, and afterward I went to 孙浩博’s grandmother’s house to make dumplings. I was able to spend so much time with the people I was able to meet and spend six days with. Additionally, I was so happy practice my Chinese, and immerse myself in the Chinese culture. For lunch, we went to a place called Market Street, which is lined with all different shops and restaurants. When I was there, I truly felt immersed in the culture. I had shop owners barking at me left and right to buy their products, restaurant owners telling me their food was the best and I had to try it out. Honestly, I could have spent another two days there!
My trip to China was unforgettable and I will always treasure the memories and experiences I made there. I am so thankful for the host family I stayed with and I hope to see them very soon! Thanks for reading this article, and I hope you enjoyed reading about my unforgettable journey in China living with a host family!