3 Families for the Price of One!


by Joseph - HCE Mentor

During my time in China, I was lucky enough to spend time with three different host families! All three families lived within the same apartment complex, so moving between them was easy.

The first family

The first family I stayed with had two children, Gordon and Un-un. Gordon was in 2nd grade at the school where I worked, so walked to school together, and I’d usually accompany him on the way back too. His parents were very kind, and they emphasized creativity and critical thinking for their children, not just rote memorization. The father knew very little English, but the mother knew some basic vocabulary so we were able to communicate on simple terms. On weekends, they’d take me out for lunch or dinner at the mall. Un-un knew no English since he was only 4 years old, but Gordon was learning English in school, so we practiced together. 

The second family

The second family I stayed with was smaller. It consisted of Yuvella, a girl in Gordon’s 2nd grade class, and her mother and aunt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know them that well, since I was only with them for six days, two of which I spent in Shenzhen on a trip. The mother worked for most of the day, and her aunt knew no English, so it was a challenge to communicate. Yuvella’s English was slightly better than Gordon’s, but still beginner level since she was so young. 

I enjoyed observing the lives of the three Chinese host families that I stayed with, and their similarities and differences. They’ve all treated me kindly, and I can’t thank them enough for providing me with so much during my time in China.

The third family

I’m currently living with my third family, the largest so far. The family consists of the father, mother, nanny, grandmother, and three children. Kevin is 14, Jerry is another classmate of Gordon and Yuvella’s, and their year-old sibling hasn’t been named yet. The other two apartments I’d stayed in had similar layouts and only one floor, but this apartment had three floors! The door even had a cool thumbprint scanning unlock feature. The parents knew little English, and Jerry’s English was the same beginner level as Gordon and Yuvella’s. Luckily, I was able to do most of my communication through Kevin, who had much more experience with English and was the easiest person to communicate with out of all three families. An incoming sophomore, he was also preparing to study abroad for his junior year of high school in the America. I advised him on what to expect in America, and we talked about many topics, including the safety of American cities and American high school culture. He was fairly quiet, but I learned that was due to his lack of confidence in his English skills. We made great progress, and he was always eager to practice with me, which helped him improve tremendously as we both learned about each others’ cultures. I enjoyed observing the lives of the three Chinese host families that I stayed with, and their similarities and differences. They’ve all treated me kindly, and I can’t thank them enough for providing me with so much during my time in China.

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