Chinese exchange students treated to 'day in the life of your average Springdale kid'
By Jodi Weigand
Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, 9:57 a.m.
A group of Chinese exchange students visiting Springdale High School got a crash course in the life of an American student — a day at school, pizza on a Saturday afternoon and an evening of bowling.
They plan to tour Pittsburgh on Sunday, including a trip up the Duquesne Incline to Mt. Washington, a visit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a meal at Primanti Brothers.
The group of 10 middle school students and two teachers from the city of Shijiazhuang, in the northeastern part of the country, arrived late Thursday evening. Each is staying with a host family in the area.
On Friday, the exchange students went to class with the students with whom they're staying, ate a cafeteria lunch with them and participated in gym class.
That evening, they attended the Springdale basketball game.
“They lived a day in the life of your average Springdale kid,” said Springdale history teacher Nick Spehar, who helped organize the visit. “I think that was the best possible thing, rather than doing something like a tour of the school.”
The trip is part of the China Exchange Initiative.
A school administrator from China visited Allegheny Valley School District in October 2012. Janice Nuzzo, the district's director of student achievement, and Spehar went to China separately in 2013.
Saturday, the exchange students and their host families gathered for lunch in the high school cafeteria.
Afterward, the Chinese students, who speak English with varying proficiency, confidently gave short presentations. They ranged in topic from culture, dress and religion to the importance of family and how young people support and care for their parents once they grow older.
Then the students gathered in small groups to discuss the environment, pollution and recycling.
Several of the exchange students spoke about how clean the air is here.
“In America, the weather is much better, because in China there is so much pollution,” said Bai Boyoan, 14, an eighth-grader. “Everywhere, you can look up and see the blue sky. At home, sometimes you cannot see it.”
Bai admired the Springdale High building.
“In China, we don't have such a building because there are so many people,” he said.
Overall, the exchange students said they've enjoyed their experience so far. They learned a lot from their day of classes.
“I like the school. It's very quiet and clean,” said Jiao Youlin, 14. “The teachers are good, and the students are very kind.”
Bai said he enjoyed the STEM class in which students learn science, technology, engineering and math concepts.
He said his classes in China are more advanced than what Springdale students are learning.
He noted that students here don't have as much homework and seem to have more free time to do whatever they would like.
“Our day is: get up, eat breakfast, study, eat lunch, study, then go to bed,” Bai said.
His host, Brogan McCutcheon, 13, an eighth-grader, said it's been a fun experience having a foreign exchange student stay with them.
“He showed us games that they play and talked to us about the language,” he said. “The pronunciation is a lot harder; the tones mean different things.”
Bai also made his host family a breakfast on Saturday morning: an omelet with onions and a sweet omelet.
Liu Wei, who teaches English to high school students in China, said the trip changed her perception of American students.
Before her trip, she thought most American kids were more concerned with what they wear and how they look than their education.
“I think they are good and hardworking and busy,” said Liu, who spent time in six classes on Friday.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pension woes push A-K Valley school districts to seek higher tax limits
- Manufacturing course opens Knoch students’ eyes
- RV dealer seeks ‘breathing room’ in Allegheny Township
- Harmar bald eagles get crack at parenting
- North Apollo fire leaves family of 4 without house temporarily
- A-K Valley schools rein in delinquent lunch accounts but won’t let students go hungry
- Donations from Bon Air students help kids get through weekend
- Alle-Kiski fish fry organizers try to hook customers
- Latest Guys Run Road crash prompts Harmar to ask for stop sign
- Charges against police chief have Springdale mayor crying foul
- Man to face DUI-homicide trial for Route 28 wreck