School families have been asked to host visiting Chinese students from our sister school in Beijing. Many are reluctant and all are rather nervous. Our community is geographically and culturally isolated so people from different languages and cultures are rare.
Parents are concerned about the following:-
- What to feed their visitors? What will they eat and what should they cook?
- How will they communicate effectively?
- Will the students be bored?
- Where should they take the students?
- If they go to their room early, are they upset?
- How should they fill in the time after school and on the weekend?
- Most can only take a single student as they would not be able to transport them in their family car.
- Will they mind sharing a bedroom?
This certainly pushes many of us outside our comfort zone? How did it all turn out? Following are some comments from parents on our school Facebook page:
We experienced an amazing week both Max and Chen taught us so much we now have a greater understanding of their culture and country.
We had such a fantastic experience with Jing Jing staying with us. She is looking forward to seeing Chelsea again next month!
Hawkesdale p12 College welcomes a visit from our sister school, no 27 Beijing, every second year. Students are placed with host families for 7 nights during their visit to Hawkesdale. They attend school for 5 days of their visit and a special timetable is prepared for them. The aim of their visit is to be exposed to the Australian culture and to be immersed in the English language. Many of the host families live on farms and some live in towns of 150 people or less.
It is not until we host international students that we realise how different we are and how much we take for granted of where we live and learn. Following are some of what we have learnt.
- Some of the Chinese students have never seen stars
- A blue sky is a rarity in Beijing and they love our blue skies.
- Some students have never been exposed to the dark (the lights are always on in Beijing)
- Many have not eaten with a knife and fork
- Many have not seen a rainbow
- Our families are large – most have 3 or 4 children.
- Our homes are huge cf their small apartments
- Houses tend to be one storey here – multi-storey there.
- The countryside and space that we have between houses and farms is the complete opposite
- There is little traffic ie cars on our country roads but it includes milk tankers, stock trucks and the occasional tractor on the road.
- Freedom in internet access.
- Students will be able to ride a horse (which they have only seen in picture books or in a zoo)
- Many are afraid of dogs and most country families have dogs in Australia.
Australia is a wonderful country to live in and the country areas are great! We were proud to share our country and homes with the students and staff.