A Surprise from Beijing :: Our First Foreign Exchange Student

Back in early Dec I had stumbled upon a post on a local high school’s web page that they were seeking host families for a short time come spring. I emailed to inquire if it was required that my child(ren) attend the school. They replied immediately that it was entirely fine that my children did not also attend the school and asked if we were available for Feb 11-21st. I talked it over with the family and as it was for such a short time, Patrick agreed to give it a go. I thereby asked them to keep me informed of developments or further steps necessary.

I hadn’t heard from them since that initial conversation and had actually forgotten about it. Then last week I received an email stating we’d been matched with a girl (age 16) from Beijing.

In fact, I believe all the students are from Beijing and attend the same school. They are on holiday (Spring Festival or Chinese New Year) and are traveling together to get a hint of what school is like here. They toured college campuses in LA & SF for a few days before coming to Redding Mon evening.

She is awesome!! We don’t want her to go!  Hosting our first foreign exchange student was a wonderful experience.

Day 1 … Such a fun day … the post office, a comic book store, a little badminton, sharing a new craft (Lucet fork weaving), and cookie baking … complete with many giggles and candid photo moments.

Day 2 … another great day … Safeway, the library (for SAT, AP, & TOEFL exam prep books), and home again to make jiaozi (饺子). It’s so fun to see our country, our way of doing things, through her eyes. Jeffrey said, “I didn’t expect that having another big sister was going to be this much fun!”

Day 3 … Barnes & Noble, tennis (where I broke all the rules), Los Gordos (her first time eating Mexican food), and a lodge meeting. We are sad that she’s here only 7 more days. On the bright side, we will get to visit her in Beijing very soon!

Day 4 … we had a short time before a group dinner, so we took her to see the Sun Dial Bridge. Upon returning home from dinner, we made jello (upon request) & watched ‘Big Bang Theory’ … her favorite show.

Day 5 … another full day of festivities … chemistry lab (aka trying to bake a pie), agricultural science (picking up our milk at Duivenvoorden Farm), and winter ecology (an afternoon in the snow at Mt Lassen).

Day 6 … Scandinavian waffles for breakfast, made more jiaozi (饺子), Turtle Bay Museum (loved the Tiny Footprints exhibit – a post soon!), saw Wreck It Ralph in the theater, Costco, and Barnes & Noble again (upon request).

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥