Over the summer of 2016, a group of American students had the opportunity to visit Ningxia and stay in the homes of several families in villages throughout the province. Each group of two or three American students was paired with a Chinese student, all members of Ningxia Yucai Middle School.
Though the Chinese students were fairly familiar with the English language, the American students knew little to no Chinese, so, naturally, communication proved to be a bit difficult. But that communication barrier – or, rather, hurdle – didn’t stop the students and families from showing their guests the highest degree of hospitality. They leaped over that hurdle with no hesitation.
One pair of students gave their thoughts after leaving their host family’s home:
Our family was the greatest! They were kind and open-minded, and they took really good care of us. Since they live pretty far out in the countryside, they had never seen foreigners before, so the younger kids were a little scared at first. They warmed up to us pretty quickly, though.
The biggest city our friend Dan [their host student] has been to is Yinchuan [which, comparatively speaking, isn’t all that big], and before we came, they had never been to Shā pō tóu [a tourist site near Yinchuan]. Our family also took us hiking and then watermelon-picking in the foothills, which were both awesome experiences. Everyone went, young and old (about five years old to sixty or so).
One thing that stood out to us was the fact that though Dan’s grandmother, his dad’s mom, had recently passed away, the family was still kind and welcoming. They still had smiles on their faces and were genuinely happy that we were there.
Our expectations before coming were mostly that communication would be pretty difficult, but it wasn’t. We didn’t expect them to be as inviting as they were; they shared everything they had – We knew they would be hospitable, but they took that to a whole new level. They even cried when we left! If given the opportunity, we’d love to come back again. Our family’s kindness and hospitality, particularly after losing their grandmother so recently, is something we definitely won’t forget.
Global Bridge partners with schools in Ningxia and abroad to provide cross-cultural immersion experiences that students will never forget. Contact us if you are interested in learning more!