CFHS Welcomes Chinese Exchange Students

CFHS Welcomes Chinese Exchange Students

Last week, Chagrin Falls High School welcomed exchange students from Huipu High School in Linhai City, China.  

Sister school to CFHS, Huipu High School hosted CFHS students during last spring’s China trip.  Before coming to Chagrin, the exchange students spent time travelling the U.S. and visiting colleges.  Once arrived, the exchange students were reunited with the same CFHS students that they had met the previous spring.  For the next week, the exchange students lived with host families and even attended a few days of school.

Sunni, a junior, was glad that she came, though she found school in the U.S. very different from school in China.  

“The main two differences are schedule and teaching style,” she said.  “We need to go to school from morning to the evening, while CFHS is dismissed in the afternoon.  In China, students sit in one classroom for the whole day and their teachers switch classes. However, we noticed that in CFHS, students did a lot of walking from class to class every day.”  

Junior Grace Lee went to China last spring and served as Sunni’s host.  “The main thing was the schedule,” she said, agreeing that Chinese and American schools differ greatly.  “They don’t get out until late evening, so a lot of things that they do outside of school are super late at night.”  In fact, the exchange students explained to a CFHS Chinese class that they attend school for almost 12 hours per day with hour-and-a-half-long breaks for lunch and dinner.

In contrast to the U.S., college in China is very cheap.  However, whether or not a student is accepted into college depends almost entire on his or her performance on a single test: the GaoKao.  Unlike in the U.S. where students can retake the SAT or ACT until they earn a score that satisfies them, students in China only get one chance to take the GaoKao.  Aiming to test overall academic ability, the GaoKao includes sections on language arts, math, and English. As a result, many students spend their nights studying or attending test-prep schools.  

Mrs. Guo, Chinese teacher at CFHS and CFMS, felt that the exchange program in place is very beneficial to students at Chagrin.  

“By hosting, my students learned a lot from them, to know what their life is, how their school is, what kind of effort they put in. It opened up the eyes of my students about how much hard work is required to succeed.”  

She also believes that the exchange students have a lot to gain by coming to the U.S.   

“It’s also important for them to explore some American culture.  They have been learning to understand American life.”

Overall, the students seemed to enjoy their time in the U.S.  

“We went into town, ate at Yours Truly, went downtown to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit [at the Cleveland Art Museum] and went to a soccer game,” Lee explained.  “I think everyone had a good time.”