Chinese exchange students come to Cleveland from sister school


Four Suzhou students take a photo during a tour of downtown Portland.

By Ariel Harmon, Reporter

Traveling is always an exhilarating experience, but sadly not all students have the opportunity to travel to another country. However, students from Cleveland’s sister school in China, Suzhou, were able to come to the U.S. for two weeks. For a week, they travelled around California and went to Seattle. This mainly consisted of sightseeing and exploring the U.S., and looking at tourist attractions. Then, for their final week, they were with a Cleveland family for a homestay experience. During the week they were here, the students had some amazing connections with their homestay families and had some unique experiences. Each exchange student had a fellow student at Cleveland as a shadow to their classes and who they stayed with.

The students from Suzhou arrived with their host families on Feb. 14, and were with them for a week. Before that they were off sightseeing and traveling across the U.S. During that time, they followed their host student to class. Each student’s experience was different, but they all seemed to enjoy life at Cleveland.

“The main reason [the students] came here was to have a cultural exchange with other high schoolers. [They] wanted to learn more about the American culture and how they can compare it to their lives,” said Erica Lu, a freshman who hosted one of the exchange students.

Like everything, everyone’s experience was unique and each relationship with the homestay family was different. Some students connected with their exchange student differently and connected in different amounts. Some pairs got close, some were distant.

The students from Suzhou were a pretty close knit group. They preferred to stay with themselves and with the people they knew. Like any kid, their likes and dislikes varied from person to person.

“There were a lot of things I found strange, but otherwise he was pretty cool. He asked a lot of questions, and whatever I was doing, he wanted to do it too,” said Theo Close-Hung, sophomore.

The Suzhou students were very inquisitive and liked to ask their host family a lot of questions. And the students became part of the family in just one short week.

“It was so fun. It was like having another friend at home but for everyday of the week, and you really connect with them,” Erica Lu said.

Nancy Yang, a Mandarin Chinese teacher at Cleveland is in charge of the exchange. She is working on putting together a group to go for next year. “We didn’t have enough students to go this year but I hope we get more people interested for next year,” Ms. Yang said.

The exchange between Cleveland and Suzhou has been going on since 2013. If we get a group to go next year that will be the third group to go in four years.
This is a wonderful experience for both exchange students and for the host families, and if you are interested in going to China for two weeks, this exchange with Cleveland’s sister school might be for you. If you are interested in this wonderful and fantastic exchange with Cleveland’s sister school, then contact Nancy Yang at Cleveland so she can put together a group to go next year.