Global Education

Ni hao, Newton South

By Michelle Dearolf
Published: October 2010

Have you noticed the students wearing blue jumpsuits walking down the hallways lately? It’s not a new fashion trend that you were unaware of; the Chinese exchange students are here!
They arrived on September 26, excited, but tired after two long flights. Since then, their schedules have been busy: they’ve already gone to New York, visited many colleges, spent a weekend on an island, and participated in other daily “American activities.
In the coming months, they will be going trick-or-treating, attending concerts and school plays, and visiting various famous places in and around Boston.
Life is certainly different for them in America. Many tasted their first hamburgers on their second day here and have continued eating strange, cheese-covered meals.
Some of them even prefer eating French toast with ketchup to eating it with syrup. Of course, this is an example of personal preference, but you get the idea. Things are different.
While in China they might be expected to spend most of their time doing their homework and studying for the large, SAT-like final exam at the end of their senior year, here under the exchange program they have more free time to explore what it is like to live in Newton.
Many have gone shopping, visited local events and shows, and even voluntarily completely their homework from South.
And instead of waking up and doing morning exercises to start every school day, they are exploring our unique classes like Project Adventure.
Because the exchange students come from the Jingshan School, a well-off school in Beijing, many are already accustomed to learning about new cultures.
They have traveled all over the world, from various parts of Europe, to Australia, to Japan, and other Asian countries. Some of them even know some of America’s colloquialisms, such as “ASAP, and were looking forward to visiting Harvard University and the Mac store.
You’d be surprised how similar they are to you; they love hanging out with their friends, Skyping, and are just as worried about school and getting in college as you are (or soon will be.)
So if you see an exchange student at South, (Lucy, Cecelia, Rita, Luke, or Louis, or perhaps Rose, Annie, or Richard at North) you should introduce yourself.
Please remember to enunciate when you talk: their English skills are exceptional, but English is still their second language.
Ask them questions about their life in China and compare the similarities or differences to the US.
Or simply tell them about your life, your classes, and the activities you like to do.
They are all awesome people, so don’t miss your opportunity to make new friends while learning about another country along the way.

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