Chinese enjoy American culture during first three weeks
For the last three weeks in January, Eastwood Middle School hosted foreign exchange students and their teacher from China.
The ten students came over to see what the United States was like and to experience everything firsthand.
The trip was through the American Cultural Exchange Service Youth Ambassador Exchange.
“Val Virag (the director of the program) approached me and I thought it was a great idea. So I spoke to the superintendent and he thought it was a good idea as well, and it just came about from there,” said Eastwood Middle School Principal, John Obrock.
Last year Genoa, Rossford and Oregon hosted a group of kids for about a week. This is the first year for the group to be in the United States for three weeks.
Rossford also hosted a group of 10 students and a teacher.
During their time in America, the students went on many field trips. They went on a nature walk at Maumee Bay State Park, to the Challenger Center, bowling, Imagination Station, and to a Toledo Walleye Game.
The group was also scheduled to go to the Henry Ford Museum, but that trip was cancelled due to weather.
“The nature walk was my favorite part,” said Junbo Zhao, also known as Peter.
Many of the students attended basketball games and even practices with their mentors and host families.
“I really liked playing basketball with my mentor,” said Jiamin Lyn, or Kevin.
Even though the students did not attend school as much as planned, due to holidays, snow days, and two hour delays, they still said it was one of their favorite parts.
School in China is a lot different than school in Ohio. The Chinese students attend school six days a week, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., depending on age. They also do not have a summer break, but rather two 40 day breaks.
“I loved school in America a lot better than school in China,” said Kevin.
Eastwood held many different events to make the most of their time in the United States. Events that included a pep assembly to welcome them, and one to send them off.
A formal graduation was also held for the students.
One day during school lunch, the whole Middle School had the option of participating in “Chopstick Wednesday”. Each person was given chopsticks with their lunch, if they wanted to eat with them.
“I think the response from our students has been good. They have enjoyed getting to know the Chinese students, learning about the Chinese culture and just being with the kids every day,” said Mr. Obrock.
“I liked having them here. My favorite part was going to Imagination Station,” said Gavin Slattman, a mentor to one of the students.
One of the major differences that the kids had a chance to experience was the food.
“I loved the chicken, burgers, and Coke,” said Yi Yang Cheng, also known as David.
One thing that was clear throughout the whole experience was the bond that was created between the students and everyone in the Eastwood community, especially the host families.
“My favorite part was spending time with my host family. They will always be family to me,” said David.
“I think that, yes, if asked I would do it again. Like all things the first time around, there needs to be some kinks worked out, but overall I think it was very rewarding.” said Obrock.
After leaving Ohio, the students went to Los Angeles and Disney Land for a week before flying back to China.
The students that came over to America were: Yi Yang Cheng (David), Jingyi Hao (Suri), Yu Yan Kang (Tony), Haoran Li (Wilson), Jiamin Lyn (Kevin), Yue Ni (May), Xinrong Suo (Lisa), Wentao Yu (Jerry), Jinhaochung Wang (Jerry), Hongrui Zhang (Cristian), Junbo Zhao (Peter), and teacher Liping Nin (Lilly).
The student mentors that showed the students around included: Logan Baugher, Jack Chappuies, Colin DeWese, Ethan DeWese, Logan Frobose, Grant Hirzel, Tori Martin-Crosby, Meghan Melcher, Addison Richards, Emma Schuerman, Nick Schuerman, Hunter Slattman, Gavin Slattman, Catherine Wasylyshyn, Lauren Welker, and Jacob Zatko.
The host families were the Corns Family, the Dennis family, the DeWese family, the Frobose family, the Hirzel family, the Richards family, the Schuerman family, the Slattman family, and the Zatko family.
(The article is reprinted with permission from The Eagle’s Eye, an Eastwood High School student publication.)