Chinese foreign exchange immerses himself in American culture


Joce Ramirez, Staff Writer

Due to his desire to learn more about the United States and his interest in American style, sophomore Haoyu Wang decided to switch schools and travel over 7000 to attend Manteo High School this fall.

The 16 year old is from Beijing, China, and he will attend MHS for the entire school year. While in the US, Wang will live with a host family.

Immersing himself in the American culture will allow Wang to learn how this country differs from his own. Prior to coming here, Wang’s conclusions about the United States were based off movies and news. However, the first hand experiences he will have while studying and living here will enable him to draw his own conclusions.

“I learn more about the country usually online,” Wang said.  

Wang isn’t the only one learning about a new culture from his time in the United States. His classmates are also learning a lot about the culture of his homeland from him.

“I met him in math class. I learned how to speak Chinese and how to write some characters in Chinese. He taught me about his culture and how it’s different compared to the US. He’s a good kid, smart and he’s a jokester,” junior John Marroquin said.  

Table tennis and basketball are two sports that interest Wang, and he hopes to become involved with the school by joining a club or two. Lunch is currently Wang’s favorite time of the day because he gets to talk with his new friends about life here and well as China.

“I will answer their questions, but I will not take the initiative to talk about China,” Wang said.

Wang’s learning experience in the United States has been much different than what he is used to back in China.

“Knowledge over there in China is based more on the skills of the occupation that is wanted,” Wang said.

American students also get the skills that they require to get their job, but it takes a much longer time to actually get the job that they want.

“It is not true on what other people say about the school learning and what they think goes on, to get a job you need to be exactly 18 years old,” Wang said.  

In China, school hours are a maximum of 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. In Wang’s classes back home there were 30 students. In other schools near Beijing, there were about 60 students per class.

Upon graduation from high school, Wang hopes to pursue a career in video post production, which involves editing film, audio voice, and recording.

“[My interest] just began, so I don’t know which part should I start [with],” Wang said. “I have never taken any classes because I don’t know do we have that kind of classes here or where can I take.”

Wang is here through the AFS Foreign Exchange program, which allows participants an all-access pass to discover and explore a new culture. The program requires a student’s GPA to be 3.0 or higher and includes a fee. Students get to choose their country, and Wang chose the United States because he wanted to feel “free.”