Student Ambassadors Show Off CHS to Chinese Exchange Students

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Student Ambassadors Show Off CHS to Chinese Exchange Students

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Over the course of three weeks, 37 foreign exchange students from China arrived at CHS to experience the American high school life, improve their English, and make new friends. CHS German teacher Frau Tsai started this exchange with the American International Education Group (AIE). The exchange students were split into four different groups and came at different times, ranging from mid-January to early February. One group visited before finals and were led specifically by IB students, while the others were led by a group of volunteer ambassadors. This exchange program had always taken place during the SLICE summer program, but this was the first time the exchange was arranged during the school year.

The American International Education Group recruited the exchange students from different cities all over China. Lists of these students were sent to Frau Tsai, who organized this exchange by recruiting teachers willing to host the exchange students in their classes. The exchange students were treated like regular CHS students and received their own class schedules. During their stay, they resided with host families from around the Los Angeles area.

Student ambassador coordinator and CHS senior Michelle Wang spread the word about this event through various groups including Key Club, IB, and others. 39 enthusiastic CHS students volunteered to be ambassadors, were assigned to their own Chinese foreign exchange partner, and tasked with the responsibility of escorting them to their classes. The three team leaders, senior Victoria Phan, junior Mike Liu, and sophomore Hayden Yeung, were also chosen to head each of the three Chinese foreign exchange groups.

Before the exchange students arrived at CHS, Frau Tsai and the team leaders planned and created an active schedule for the students. The team leaders came up with an ample amount of entertaining, hands-on activities for the exchange students, who met with their student ambassador partner during both office hours and lunch everyday. During the time that they were at CHS, the Chinese students went on tours around the campus, played team-building games, and designed thank-you cards for their host teachers. Many student ambassadors installed WeChat, a messaging app commonly used in China, to communicate with their Chinese partners.

“I would definitely recommend being an ambassador to everyone. I made a lot of new friends, and we still talk to each other over WeChat, ” freshman and student ambassador Kelly Ng said.

However, this responsibility did not come easily for the student ambassadors from CHS. Due to the expected language barrier, a few student ambassadors were nervous about the exchange.

“The idea of having my own ‘Chinese buddy’ was quite daunting at first,” sophomore and team captain Hayden Yeung said. “After meeting him, however, I was delighted to find that my Chinese partner was quite proficient in English and a fun and well-mannered person.”  

The foreign exchange program offered both Chinese and American students an opportunity to befriend people from different cultures and backgrounds.

“I believe the world needs to gain a deeper understanding of each other,” German teacher Frau Tsai said. “We can make the world a smaller place, a better place, a more understanding place.”

Moreover, the Chinese students also had an exciting time during their stay. Lisa Zhang, one of the Chinese foreign exchange students, greatly enjoyed her time spent at CHS.

“[The American school life] is really cool and different,” Lisa Zhang said. “Everyone here is really friendly.”

In addition to the Chinese students learning about the American life, student ambassadors learned much about the Chinese language, school life, and culture as well. With foreign exchanges like these, countries can climb over language barriers, jump over cultural hurdles, and improve relations with one another. Students interested in this program can also volunteer over the summer with SLICE, and Frau Tsai will be hosting more students this year.