Yuji Zhong, Chinese Exchange Student, Talks American Experience


Eryn McQueen, Reporter

Many international students have come Manitou Springs High School this year, including Yuji Zhong (11). Prior to her current living situations, Zhong lived in Beijing, China. The transition has been a bit turbulent due to the vast amount of changes in culture.

The major adjustments for Zhong are school and daily life. Every country has a unique school system. Instead of the seven hours Americans spend in school daily, Chinese students attend school for nine hours a day. Although Manitou is on the block schedule, Zhong is used to having eight or nine classes a day. Aside from classes, the schools don’t stray to far in difference.

One thing that has affected Zhong’s daily life is American food. The Chinese diet typically consists of a lot of grains, veggies and fruit. Zhong has taken notice to the amount of sugar in American food, as she’s not yet used to it. American food contains much more sugar and salt than Chinese food. In China, Zhong usually ate noodles, rice, fried vegetables, and fruit daily. Now with America’s mixed cultural diet, she’s had the opportunity to try all kinds of different foods. Although she prefers Chinese food, she enjoys American food even though she finds some dishes way too salty or sweet.

Furthermore, culture plays a major role in American daily life. As said before, school is the biggest transition for Zhong. In America, Zhong lives with a different family. This temporary relationship is called a host family. Although meeting new people and moving into their home for a year is strange, Zhong gets along well with her host family.

In addition, certain things Americans find completely normal are considered rare in China. In America, siblings are very common while, due to the population issue in China, most families only have one child. Although Zhong has no biological sister, she has been getting along well with her host sister, Kyla Carpenter (9).

While Zhong is in America, she has goals set aside that she wishes to achieve. One of these goals is to create new relationships with the people here. She also is enrolled in a Spanish class in hopes to one day become fluent. Zhong is working on improving her English as well. As for future plans, Zhong is planning on passing this year and moving on to her senior year, although she won’t be attending Manitou schools next year.