Exchanging cultures: Chinese students get taste of life thro 3/05/2015 10:35
Exchanging cultures: Chinese students get taste of life through Natick hosts



Hu Tianyue, whose English nama is Anna, snaps a photo of Wilson Middle School Mandarin teacher Yu Lan Zhu, left, and Kang Shaowei, her English teacher at the Shijiazhuang Foreign Langue School in the Hebei province of China, as they leave a Wilson classroom Tuesday. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGaghHu Tianyue, whose English nama is Anna, snaps a photo of Wilson Middle School Mandarin teacher Yu Lan Zhu, left, and Kang Shaowei, her English teacher at the Shijiazhuang Foreign Langue School in the Hebei province of China, as they leave a Wilson classroom Tuesday. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGagh
Hu Tianyue, whose English nama is Anna, snaps a photo of Wilson Middle School Mandarin teacher Yu Lan Zhu, left, and Kang Shaowei, her English teacher at the Shijiazhuang Foreign Langue School in the Hebei province of China, as they leave a Wilson classroom Tuesday. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGaghWilson Middle School seventh-grader Alec Becker, right, watches as Li Tianyi, a seventh-grader at the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School, finishes a paper cutting during a class at the Natick school Tuesday. Alec's family his hosting Li Tianyi, whose English name at his school is Gary. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGaghZhang Wanying, a seventh-grader from the Shijiazhaung Foreign Language School, smiles as paper cuttings are shown in a seventh-grade class at the Wilson Middle School in Natick Tuesday. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGaghYu Lan Zhu, a Mandarin teacher at the Wilson Middle School in Natick, left, teaches Zhang Wanying, center, and Hu Tianue, right, from the Shijiazhaung Foreign Language School, how to do paper cuttings during the last full day of the exchange students' visit to Natick Tuesday. Daily News Staff Photo/Ken McGagh

By Brian Benson
Daily News Staff

Posted Mar. 4, 2015 at 12:01 AM

NATICK - From going sledding to visiting a trampoline park to sampling American food, several Chinese students are getting a first-hand look at life in the United States thanks to Wilson Middle School student hosts.

Dong Sihan, 12, said it has been a "great experience in America. ... I learned how to be happy. American students are very happy.”

Wilson student Emma Koskovich said she was eager to introduce Dong to her home, school and culture.

“I was super excited for them to come,” Koskovich said.

Koskovich said she showed her Chinese counterpart how to use a microwave and took her to a bowling alley and shopping at Target.

Nine students from Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School spent several days with host Wilson Middle School families, including attending school with their new American friends on Monday and Tuesday before they expected to leave for home today. In a Mandarin class Tuesday, they made paper cuttings, a popular decorative Chinese handicraft.

School administrators have visited each others' communities and formed a relationship.

Teacher Kang Shaowei, who uses the English name Zoe and is traveling with the students, said she called all of them on their first night staying with Wilson families and the students reported they were having a great time.

“They’re at the same age,” she said. “They have a lot to talk about. For most of these kids, it is also the first time for them to be in America. They get to know what really American life is like – not just from the movies.”

She said Shijiazhuang is about a 90-minute train ride from Beijing.

Natick Mandarin teacher Yu Lan Zhu, who goes by the English name Nancy, said understanding Chinese culture and language will help Natick students in the future given the interconnectedness of today's world.

“Chinese is the most spoken language in world,” she said.

You Haochen, 12, who uses the English name Richard, spent time with host Noah Birch at a trampoline park. The boys taught each other words in their respective languages.

“We went sledding. That’s kind of a classic thing to do in New England,” Birch said.

Chinese students, who made other stops along the East Coast before coming to Natick, said they were amazed by the amount of snow in New England.

You said school in America is different with smaller class sizes.

The Chinese students said American food, including hamburgers, hot dogs and desserts, is very different from Chinese meals, which include vegetables, rice, dumplings and noodles.

Students from Natick and China said they have many positive experiences to remember.

"I learned a lot from him about America," You said of Birch.

Birch added: “It’s been a really cool learning experience.”

Brian Benson can be reached at 508-626-3964 or bbenson@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @bbensonmwdn.
[Time : 0.006s | 11 Queries | Memory Usage: 606.75 KB]