Homestay Experience

UDNSLIY July 22, 2017

Alexandra Jagielski


The time came for Homestay, and I could not have been any more nervous and excited as I was when I entered a room full of unfamiliar, but kind smiles from many different families. Following some special singing performances by Victoria Zappi and Lucas Higgins, all the NSLI-Y students sang a song by the Chinese pop boy band, the TF Boys for the amusement of our host families. After that, each student’s name was called and met their host family on stage. It was so nerve wracking waiting for your name to be called, but once my name was called it was all excitement. The host families and the students were equally ecstatic to meet each other. It was a great experience.

I knew going into this experience that Chinese people have great hospitality, however; I underestimated the extent of their hospitality. My family took me out for the first night to a wonderful meal and took care of everything. Although there is a clear language barrier, they did everything they could to make me understand as much as possible so I was included. The first night was a great success. I have 3 family members; a Mom, Dad, and sister. My sister is 16 years old, so we get along well. There is also an Aunt that is with us very often but does not live with me. My family is amazing, and I could not be more pleased with them. They are all kind, caring and hardworking.  

Today was a much needed day off from school so that I and the other students could spend the day with their new families. My day was packed with great activities. The day began with a great breakfast made by my homestay Mom. Later on, my sister and Mom took me out to a fresh seafood market. It was definitely a new sight to see as the freshest food was on display. As in, live turtles, eels, shrimp and other live creatures ready for purchase. It was very crowded and fast moving, but I enjoyed experiencing a new environment and allowed me to notice cultural differences between America and China. With the food we got from the market, my Mom made lunch. There were many dishes including raw salmon, spicy cucumber salad, garlic duck, and more. It was delicious. 

In the afternoon, my homestay Aunt and Dad took me out to explore Xiamen. First, we went to go watch a Chinese movie named “Brotherhood of Blades 2” (绣春刀2). It was in Mandarin but had English subtitles so I was able to understand. The movie itself was similar to an American movie, though not my preferred genre. It was still really interesting to watch a Chinese movie with my new family. Following the movie, my Aunt took me to level 38 of the Conrad Tower located in the heart of Xiamen. It was a breathtaking view, maybe one of the prettiest views I’ve ever seen. Full of different shades of blue and a great sight of the shoreline, the ocean, and the city.