West may be best for nation's teenagers

Updated: 2016-10-05 07:45

By Chang Jun(China Daily)

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West may be best for nation's teenagers

A photo from A Love for Separation, a television series in China. The series hit Chinese screens as sending young children abroad for school becomes more and more fashionable. Provided To China Daily

Living with host families

Many overseas Chinese students live with host families and attend private schools like the Fremont Christian School in East Bay, California. US immigration law gives Chinese families little choice: International students can only attend public schools for one year and must reimburse the school district.

California is a top destination for these students.

Ling Guo is a stay-at-home mother and hosts four Chinese international students at her two-story, four-bedroom single family home in the Fremont, Bay area. By contract, her responsibilities include shuffling the four back and forth between school and home, as well as providing three meals a day.

Guo arranges for two students to share one room, and charges $1,000 monthly for each. "I saw an ad from a local agency hiring host families," Guo said. "I called them to set up an interview and field check then they sent me these four Chinese kids."

Guo said a host family in a way acts as the guardians of the Chinese students. "I always tell them to go to work if I see them wasting their time. But they don't like the extra supervision other than what they get from school and their parents," Guo complained. "I tell them your parents' money is hard-earned. Cherish it!"

Living habits

Other host families have issues with the living habits of the Chinese teens. "Most of them are self-centered and don't know to care about other people," said Maggie Lin, who has been hosting international students for more than six years in San Francisco.

Many children like to stay up late and still take showers even if it's already midnight, Lin said. "Each time I open the doors to their rooms, it's like a scene after a tornado touched down."

Lin said most of the Chinese teens are addicted to the virtual cyber world and show no interest in face-to-face communications. "With the majority of them being the only child of the family, they are spoiled in many ways," said Lin.

In Peninsular and South Bay cities such as Mountain View and Palo Alto where schools are more prestigious, the cost for living with a host family soars." A student needs to pay at least $24,000 a year for a single room in Los Altos," said Liu, the marketing professional.

Luo Ping, a resident and a mother of two young boys, said she could not understand why Chinese parents send their children to live with host families. "Children need to learn from native peers about language and culture. A Chinese-speaking host family won't help a lot in this regard," she said.

For Emily Chen and her Chinese girl classmates, their US adventure started as a rough voyage, and has turned out to be a fruitful adventure. "I'm more creative and independent after three years of studying in the US," Emily said. "Now I'm ready for my college years."

Contact the writer at junechang@chinadailyusa.com

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