Local News Reporter
(Pictured is Katie Stadler (‘18) and her homestay Katherine from Guamin High School in Shanghai, China)
7,370 miles away in Shanghai China, lives 16 year-old Qiao Yan . On February 1st she embarked on a 16+ hour journey to New York where she would stay in the home of an American teenager for 4 days.
Katie Stadler (‘18) is one of the many students in CGS who decided to take part in this year’s exchange program with Guamin High from Shanghai, China. Wishing to practice her language skills, Stadler took the opportunity not only to meet a Chinese tutor, but soon to be long life friend.
“You are able to build special relationships with people half-way across the world. I have made a wonderful friend who I was able to connect with instantly.” Although this might seem like a rare situation, to get along with a stranger, a majority of homestays is quite common among. Finding the similarities instead of focusing on the differences is something CGS students have grown to learn.
Due to the Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese programs, the study tours along with an exchange program is apart of the overall curriculum. By having this exchange program, students are able to challenge themselves, and leave their comfort zone to experience a cultural immersion.
This was the 11th Anniversary of exchanging with the Chinese school and Julie Parham, CGS director explained why it’s continued to stick around: “ We get all kinds of different exposure. We get to learn what teenagers are like from different countries, it’s surprising and delightful to find that they are very similar to teenagers in the United States. Students get to learn little nuances of culture that we didn’t know they had even though we study their language.”
This type of opportunity is a rare one and should be taken when possible. Although many public schools offer foreign language programs, adding an exchange program allows for further culture enrichment.
“Now I see her as a sister to me and I never imagined us to ever be so close.”