Broaden your Horizons


by Evan Williams - HCE Mentor

My name is Evan. I’m from Michigan and I graduated from Michigan State University. I decided to take a gap year between having obtained my bachelor’s and starting a doctoral program. I’m learning Chinese so I thought teaching English in China while living with a host family would be a great immersion experience for me. That said, I never could have imagined how life-changing the program would be.

Come with an open mind and try to embrace Chinese culture. That doesn’t mean stop being American, but I think there are a lot of foreigners in China who look down on tradition.

I’d never been to Asia before, so there was definitely some culture shock for me, and of course there were plenty of misunderstandings that made me feel out-of-place and not welcomed. In the end, I stayed with the family for three months, and I can honestly say they were some of the best months of my life. I no longer consider them my host family; to me they are just my family. Though I’m leaving in a few days, we’ve already made plans to see each other again and I know I’m always welcomed here. In a way, I feel closer with them than I do with my real family.

Come with an open mind and try to embrace Chinese culture. That doesn’t mean stop being American, but I think there are a lot of foreigners in China who look down on tradition. If you have a genuine interest in China and Chinese culture, you’ll be welcomed like family and treated with more kindness than you thought possible. It’s a great experience and I fully recommend it to anyone who wants to broaden their horizons.

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