Mrs. Xinxian Xie is an English teacher at Talent International College Guangxi (hereafter referred as Talent), China. She is the group leader of the students from Talent visiting SRSU.
Mr. Xianxu Feng and Miss. Ying Huang are students at Talent. Mr. Feng is majoring in Business English and Miss Huang is majoring in Accounting.
Interviewer: Why did you want to participate in this program?
Mrs. Xie: As an educator, I would like to learn more about education in America. One of the better ways to learn is from direct experience in-person.
Mr. Feng and Miss. Huang: There are several reasons. First of all, we want to improve our English, especially oral communication. Second, we want to see the differences between schools in China and in the US. Third, we want to learn more about the culture and lifestyle of America. Fourth, we want to make foreign friends. Fifth, we’d like to broaden our view through travel.
Interviewer: What were your impressions about the United States? Is it different than what you thought?
Mrs. Xie: Yes, it is really different. When I was in China, from the movies and the news, I thought everywhere in America should be like New York, Washington, DC, and the Boston area. But being in Alpine really changed my view on that.
Mr. Feng and Miss. Huang: It is so different than what we have been thinking. People here are really nice and easy-going. There are not a lot of people walking on the street. And it gets so quiet after around 8:30 pm.
Interviewer: What are some biggest cultural differences you have experienced out here?
Mrs. Xie: Several things are really obvious. Food is so different and Chinese people usually drink hot water or tea. When you go to a restaurant, hot water or hot tea would be served, if any, before you order. However, here, iced water is always served in the restaurants. Also, Tap water is not drinkable in China. You have to boil it before you can drink it. But here, often, people just get water from the tap, especially when at home. As an educator, I noticed that the classroom settings and the way the students are taught are different.
Mr. Feng and Miss. Huang: As students, we did notice that the class size is a lot smaller than ours. And students here have more freedom in the classroom and they are more active to respond to questions. Also, so many students work for a job and pay their own tuition, whereas in China, most of the time, parents pay for the tuition. In China, we are so used to public transportation, but here most people have their own cars. Last but not least, we are surprised by the relationships between human beings and the wildlife around here.
Interviewer: What’s the highlight for you during this journey?
Mrs. Xie: I was able to meet one of the professors in the Education Department. We had great time discussing pros and cons in education in the two countries and issues in education nowadays.
Mr. Feng and Miss. Huang: We visited a couple of ranches and met several newborn kittens. They are just so cute. The kittens are so tiny and soft. We also met a kangaroo. Moreover, we made quite a few American friends and we are connected on social media!
Interviewer: Overall, what do you think about the program?
Mrs. Xie: I am really pleased with my experience here. I learned a lot. I am excited to see my students’ reaction when I apply what I have learned here to my class. I think it is a good program for students to learn more about America in an affordable way.
Mr. Feng and Miss. Huang: Even though it was only about two weeks, we learned a lot. It is a program worth being part of. We have a new goal – spending more time studying English, so that we can come back on our own.
Interviewed by Ruoxi Wu