Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

Have you ever been an exchange student, or hosted one? (2)?

And if yes, do you have any advice for me? lol.

I'm hosting a Chinese girl (age 13-17, my age) for three weeks as part of an English immersion program. She's coming next week with a large group of about 20 Chinese kids.

I'm only hosting ONE girl, the rest of the group is going to different families in my town

What about cultural stuff? Will they be able to appreciate stuff like movies, music, books, or will they not like the fact that English is being spoken so quickly, or that words are being used that they don't understand?

And will they be overwhelmed by their host having friends over? I won't invite friends over until the girl is settled. But imagine if you were an exchange student - would you feel left out or overwhelmed in that situation?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I was an exchange student in Poland, and I also spent a semester in Taiwan (and a few weeks in Beijing). Also, some Polish cousins of mine stayed with my relatives here for a month when they were in high school.

    You might be surprised by how much she knows about American movies and music already. I've found that most people who like to travel also like foreign music, whether they understand the words or not. On the other hand, movies will probably be harder for her to enjoy (unless she's fluent). 90 minutes is a long time to sit and constantly interpret a foreign language while still keeping up with the plot and remembering to relax and have fun.

    When you talk to her, try to pronounce words clearly. Speaking at your normal speed is fine, just don't mumble.

    Avoid using too much slang, to start with. She'll probably want to know what slang and idioms you use, but don't bombard her with too much all at once. In her first few days, keep things simple so she gains confidence in her ability to speak. If she feels overwhelmed or intimidated, she might feel too shy to speak.

    Definitely introduce her to your friends. Stick with small groups, though - you, her, and one of your friends is the ideal size for hanging out. In a larger group, you will tend to either end up talking too much to your friends (using inside jokes and personal slang that she won't "get"), or you will end up overwhelming her by all asking her questions, one after another. Take her to a party if possible, but make sure she's not being forgotten in a corner somewhere.

    Be careful of using sarcasm. She probably won't be used to sarcasm and will take things literally. Hopefully, her program will have prepared her for this... but sarcasm is hard to identify if you've grown up without hearing it, and it's not used much in China.

    There are a lot of fun things you can do with her. I loved when my friends taught me to cook food from their culture and when we had picnics. Going to the mall is always fun because you get to hear the latest music over the speakers, see all kinds of people (families, old people, groups of teenagers), see what stuff is cool and how much it costs, even see how things are advertised and what the signs look like. Cook on the grill at least once - a lot of foreign visitors are only familiar with McDonalds hamburgers and would looooove to see how homemade American hamburgers are made. Take her to McDonalds, too - the McDonalds restaurants in China don't sell the same things as they do here. Bowling is always fun. Teach her card games, nursery rhymes, kid songs... the kind of stuff that most Americans grew up learning but that won't be in her textbooks.

    Most of all, just be patient and friendly. Remember that she's probably jetlagged and culture-shocked, and be generous. I know I accidentally acted like a nut when I got to Poland. I was so tired and excited and confused by everything that I rambled on about personal details about my life, asked my hosts waaaay too many personal questions, constantly compared everything to the US (not in a bad way... I just never shut up about comparing things though), was afraid to go anywhere alone for fear of getting lost, got hung up on little details of things, took an embarassing amount of pictures... I was an excited, crazy mess, and I wasn't acting like me at all. So please, if your visitor starts to seem crazy, be compassionate :) Culture shock is a powerful thing. I didn't think I'd have it (because I'd traveled a lot before then), and even when I was there I didn't think I had it... but now that it's 2 years later, I look back and think, "Man, I was in total culture shock."

    Also, get her a Facebook (or myspace) account and show her how to use it. That's the easiest way to keep in touch. I got my friends set up with Facebook accounts before I left Taiwan, and even though we're spread all over the world now, we're all still in touch.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ive been an exchange student before, and i had a great time even though the family i got wasnt all that great. I didnt have any brothers or sisters during my exchange program. But in my opinion i wouldve loved to meet new friends, the type of people you hang around. And sure go slowly by taking her places you usually go to, and making her try different things like food or movies. Although careful with the food, you never know if she might be allergic, you should ask. But if she`s part of this exchange program im sure she`s interested in cultures. Good luck!!!!

    Source(s): experience. exchange student.
  • 1 decade ago

    Chinese and American kids like the same stuff: movies, books, music...etc. You'll probably be surprised by how much she knows about American culture.

    About you friends, I think it depends on her and her personality. I lived in the US for two years and still felt overwhelmed when I was with a large group. If she's outgoing, she should be fine. If she's rather shy, she'll probably be quiet!

  • 1 decade ago

    Sure they appreciate things like movies, books, music and so on. Just with different preferences. Being Asian myself, she'll probably tend to spend more time with her Chinese friends, because she's more familiar with them than anyone else in America. Just give her a little space in the beginning until she's adjusted.

    For me, I'd feel a little bummed and left out if my host had friends over whom I couldn't talk to because of language barrier. If you want friends over you could make it better by introducing each other. After all part of the goal in exchange programs is to make friends.

    My advice is to make sure her needs are tended to but at the same time make sure you're not actually pampering her, and treating her better than everyone else. Otherwise she could use that to her advantage and tension could arise, know what I mean?

    ClassyinCoach pointed out something interesting: American fastfood outlets in one country are totally different to another's. For example, they have special rice burgers in Taiwan that we definitely don't get here in NZ lol. I personally love seeing those sort of differences and finding out things.

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  • Maya
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Twice. Once with an English girl and once with an American girl. With the English girl, it was awful, the girl had just been told by her parents that she was adopted, she would have made everything against her parents and as they were totally fond of France (I'm French), she spent the whole two weeks saying how much she hated everything about France. After two days spent by making tours of Paris, EuroDisneyland and fancy restaurants, she just said : It sucks. Lol. But well it was special circumstances.

    The American was great, she was curious about everything, wanted to try everything "French", I took her everywhere (we did everything she wanted, she was here to enjoy her trip) and we got along very well. Ask her what she wants to do, to eat, to discover and you'll be just fine. Let her choose!

  • 1 decade ago

    I loved being an exchange student.

    They'd probably like movies and stuff--rent them DVDs with subtitles if it's a big problem. We get some movies that THEY don't get in China FROM China!

    Yeah, include her. Don't worry about friends--I never minded them.

    Have fun!

  • maiya
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    you will be surprise of the culture of the Chinese people and the Intelligence

    she will speak English= don't worry you be 0k

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