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« » homestay experience in Beijing
Posted by: Icemoon66 (IP Logged)
Date: May 15, 2008 01:55AM
Before coming to China to study Mandarin, I chose a homestay through Beijing Homestay Centre ( because I felt it would be the best way to help me learn Mandarin and gain an understanding of the Chinese. I wasn’t too keen on getting stuck in expat or foreign-student communities.

I joined them in January 2008. It’s a husband and wife couple – Liang and Jie, coming respectively from business and professional backgrounds. My homestay family’s apartment itself is very modern and nice, perhaps even better than many city apartments back in Australia!

In terms of study, living with the couple has been of immense help. Each day I’ll talk to them over breakfast and dinner, getting continual speaking and listening practice. They’ve also taught me a few scholarly and not-so-scholarly phrases or words that have come in handy in conversations outside. Simply put, just living with them has been a great impetus, particularly for wanting to bridge the gap between us and communicate effectively.

Living with Liang and Jie has also been very helpful in increasing my understanding of Chinese culture. One thing that has interested me in particular is their acceptance of various Chinese traditions – not least their faith in Chinese medicine, and at the same time their openness to influences from overseas and eagerness for progress. The way they think is definitely quite different from Westerners, but by no means have I found it “inscrutable”.

Spending a year with the family has given me a chance to go on a couple of holidays with them. The first was to Hunan Province last May, and the second to Tibet and Xinjiang in August. Both trips were outstanding. I got to see some splendid natural scenery and man-made sights, and joyful experiences that I continue to cherish.

It’s probably quite obvious by now that my relationship with Liang and Jie is very close. They’ve effectively welcomed me in as an important part of their lives and a good friend. They run family and work problems by me, asking for my opinion. I also discuss with them my own work and personal-life issues, and have frequently received some rather prudent advice. Often I’ll also visit or spend time with their extended family and friends, further increasing my circle of friends here in China.

From the start, Liang and Jie have been very helpful to me in adjusting to life in Beijing. They’ve taught me where to go find the amenities or things I need, and have even helped me gain a Chinese driver’s licence. In fact, every now and then, they also lend me their car!

All in all, I’d say my choice to arrange a homestay through Beijing Homestay Centre has worked out better than my expectations. Certainly it has proven an excellent way to improve my Mandarin and understanding of the Chinese; but perhaps more importantly, I’ve found it a tremendously rewarding experience, and it has created a very strong affection in my heart for the Chinese.

Australian student

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2008 02:11AM by Olive.

Re: « » homestay experience in Beijing
Posted by: Magicawjj (IP Logged)
Date: May 15, 2008 06:28AM

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