I made the decision to come to America 2 years ago. In the past 5 months, I feel like that is probably the best choice I have ever made. I have to say studying abroad has changed me and my whole life and I am so thankful for this chance my parents gave me.
The most important thing that made me choose to come to America was the education. CHCA really surprised me about how comfortable and entertaining it is to study here. I really feel satisfied and free, which I never experienced in China. I have the chance to choose my own classes, I have less homework, and most importantly, I have free time to work on things I am interested in. I have so much time after school that gives me the opportunity to study math, improve my English and do things with my friends. While in China, I had so much homework to do that I literally had no time for other pursuits. My Chinese school ended at 6:30 p.m., and it usually took me 4 hours to do my homework, so it was 11 p.m. when I finished my schoolwork everyday. I am surprised that some American students remark how much homework they have while Chinese students are studying till midnight every single day.
Steve and his friends enjoying a formal American meal in the ISP office.
Another aspect of American education that I have come to appreciate is the classroom atmosphere and the relationship between students and teachers. Compared to Chinese classes, classes in America are much more interactive. At CHCA I enjoy discussions, games and group activities that make classes more interesting and less stressful. In China, teachers focus on teaching the maximum volume of information so their primary concern is efficiency. This reduces the chance to interact with teachers. Teachers in China are also more strict and jokes are not appropriate in Chinese classes.
Many people here ask me what I miss the most since I came to America. It is not my family (whom of course I do miss), it is not the culture, it’s actually the food. I have to say, even though Chinese people have received less Nobel prizes than Americans, we are much more accomplished in cooking since we worked on this for 5000 years. We have eight major cuisines which come from different areas and each of them is very unique. It is very typical to go to a Chinese restaurant and get a 30-page menu. We can make some food that Americans seldom eat into delicious meals. For instance, I never heard of an American who likes carp because of the fishy smell. We have a hundred ways to cook carp and make it delicious. Although my host families are awesome cooks, I miss Chinese food so much.
I feel so lucky that I have such a good host family. Living with a host family was the thing I worried about the most before I came here. I have always felt like a very shy guy with super low social skills. When I was in middle school, I would blush when I asked for some tissues in a restaurant. Therefore, it was really a big challenge to me to come here. However, I noticed that all my previous worries were unnecessary. My host parents are so nice and make me feel so comfortable to talk to them and spend time with them. They really make me feel like I have a home here.
By staying with my host family, I have become more outgoing, and my social skills have improved. I feel happier than before. Furthermore, I learned a lot from them on how to be a better person. They are the best people I have ever seen. Their kindness to everyone and the ways they solve problems really make me think about how I can improve sometimes.
In conclusion, every day in America is an adventure, and I am glad I have the opportunity to be here.