Chinese Students visit AMHS


As many of you Raptors know, during our recent 2020 Coming Home spirit week, we were lucky enough to host a small delegation of Chinese Foreign exchange students and their teacher as they made their way across the United States. Charleston was just one of the cities they visited; they also traveled to New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia touring the USA.

Students each stayed with a host family and their teacher stayed with Ms. Henley, our media specialist. Students spent 4 days at Magnet attending classes and one day at the College of Charleston and MUSC .  The students were treated to pizza, Chinese food ( they said it was pretty good), a carriage ride downtown, a Raptor basketball game and a Stingrays hockey game.  At the pep rally on Friday, one of the students entertained us with a Chinese rap song and they presented a cultural program to tenth grade study halls. 

As a newspaper class, we were actually lucky enough to be able to interview two of the exchange students in person and ask them some questions about both their lives in China, as well as what they thought about their experience in the United States .The first thing that surprised them when coming to our country was that “ people are really kind and friendly, the culture is very interesting, and people can do whatever they want to. People here are very relaxed. In China, if you want to go somewhere, you have to rush and drive there really fast. In America, people can take their time”

They all started learning English when they were about 8 years old but said that some kids start learning English at 2 or 3.  When asked what kind of job they would like to have, one said an engineer and another said a computer programmer. One said that he’d like to come back to the USA if he has enough money when he is older.

The most amazing thing to us was that the students go to school from 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 at night, six days a week.  After dinner, they have to return for study sessions until about 10:00.  They  have 9 classes every day, including Math, Chemistry, History, Chinese, Biology, and English. They have 10 minutes between every class, as well as an hour for lunch. Their teacher says that she only teaches 2 classes a day, but that her classes are 50 or 60 students.  Her husband is a professor at a university and teaches Kung Fu. When asked how their classes were different in China, the response was,   “We must listen to the teacher at all times. If you are sleeping, studying another subject, or not paying attention, you will be punished. These punishments include standing outside for half an hour, or writing many words over and over again.”

When asked if they had access to social media sites they said yes. They use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They have gmail and limited Google for web browsing. Youtube isn’t allowed in China, however.

We asked if they could marry whoever they wanted and one response was“It is difficult, because your family must like the person you want to marry. You must listen to your father, mother, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins! It is very difficult to marry who you want to because the opinion of your family matters a lot. We are also not allowed to date in high school.” 

So what do they think of America?

“When I was in New York, I asked a stranger where the Apple store was. He took me from 49th to 44th street just to help me find the store, and I think Americans in general are very willing to help people.” Another student said, ““I think America is a really cool country, because you can say opinions about anything.” Their teacher was amazed at how blue the sky is – smog in China is a real problem.


Overall, The Raptor family enjoyed their visit. Next issue we will include interviews with those who hosted the students. Opening our eyes  to foreign culture  was a great experience and we hope the school system will allow more foreign exchange students in the future.