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Could you please give me some advice on how to make the two Chinese college students (girls) ds is bringing home for the Christmas break comfortable? They'll be here for a month. I can't imagine how homesick they must be.

 

I'd like any tips you could offer on food, gift ideas, customs, anything...

 

ETA: I need to know what *not* to do as much as I need to know what *to* do.

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One thing is to provide fruit for dessert. Other cultures are not sugar-obsessed like the US and fruit is what they are looking for. They often dislike heavy sweets.

 

It is very difficult for people from many other cultures to be told to "make yourself at home." The cultural barrier is so huge they just won't do it.

 

Are they from Mainland China or Taiwan? There are some differences culturally.

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One thing is to provide fruit for dessert. Other cultures are not sugar-obsessed like the US and fruit is what they are looking for. They often dislike heavy sweets.

 

It is very difficult for people from many other cultures to be told to "make yourself at home." The cultural barrier is so huge they just won't do it.

 

Are they from Mainland China or Taiwan? There are some differences culturally.

 

 

Yes, ds said they go to the school cafeteria, where one of them works, on Saturday mornings, while everyone else is sleeping in, and cook up and enjoy a meal they like. He says they can't stand all the fat in the American diet. Fruit is a great idea. We usually have a lot of it around, but I'll make extra sure there's a variety.

 

I think they're from Mainland China, but I'm not positive about that. I'll ask ds.

 

Thanks for answering.

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We've hosted students from several Asian countries, including China.

 

Our university English education program actually offers an afternoon class (one session) on how to say no. It is very difficult for people from Asian cultures to say no directly. Often they might say "I don't know," or "Maybe later" instead.

 

One thing that's always helped us as a host family is to remember to just smile and do our best. They are usually here to experience American language and culture, so we do our best to make them feel comfortable and to be ourselves.

 

Soups and pasta dishes are often popular. Depending on their level of comfort and exposure to American family meals, I explain, "This is _____. It's made with ______. We usually eat it like this (with sauce on top/as a side dish/with a spoon)." Often they will watch me eat before they start eating to see how to do it "right." For some students, it may be difficult to ask for seconds, so I look for empty plates and offer more--"Would you like more, or have you had enough?" allows them to say they've had enough instead of feeling they have to answer yes. And because saying no can be difficult, I tell them a few times over the course of eating meals together, "You don't have to eat anything you don't care for. In our family, if we don't want to eat something we just quietly push it to the side of the plate and leave it." ETA: If you are lucky and they like to cook, make a traditional Chinese meal together. Chinese food is DELICIOUS.

 

Gifts: At this time of year, a small Christmas ornament might be nice. Getting to celebrate Christmas with an American family is a big deal. Also, take lots of pictures and you can put together a small photo album for them to take with them when they leave. :)

 

Cat

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Don't go in for the big American hug when you meet them! It can make them extremely uncomfortable.

 

Phew. I'm glad you said that because that's exactly what I would have done. (Most of our cross-cultural experience comes from a year living in Brazil. It took us a long time to actually get comfortable with all the hugging, but we did. Now we do it all the time and those poor girls would have been subjected to not just an American hug, but a Brazilian hug.)

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We've hosted students from several Asian countries, including China.

 

Our university English education program actually offers an afternoon class (one session) on how to say no. It is very difficult for people from Asian cultures to say no directly. Often they might say "I don't know," or "Maybe later" instead.

 

One thing that's always helped us as a host family is to remember to just smile and do our best. They are usually here to experience American language and culture, so we do our best to make them feel comfortable and to be ourselves.

 

Soups and pasta dishes are often popular. Depending on their level of comfort and exposure to American family meals, I explain, "This is _____. It's made with ______. We usually eat it like this (with sauce on top/as a side dish/with a spoon)." Often they will watch me eat before they start eating to see how to do it "right." For some students, it may be difficult to ask for seconds, so I look for empty plates and offer more--"Would you like more, or have you had enough?" allows them to say they've had enough instead of feeling they have to answer yes. And because saying no can be difficult, I tell them a few times over the course of eating meals together, "You don't have to eat anything you don't care for. In our family, if we don't want to eat something we just quietly push it to the side of the plate and leave it." ETA: If you are lucky and they like to cook, make a traditional Chinese meal together. Chinese food is DELICIOUS.

 

Gifts: At this time of year, a small Christmas ornament might be nice. Getting to celebrate Christmas with an American family is a big deal. Also, take lots of pictures and you can put together a small photo album for them to take with them when they leave. :)

 

Cat

 

I'm printing your post so I have it to refer to while they're here. Lots of good information here that I never would have known. Thank you so much!

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If complimented, a Chinese person will denigrate himself - don't try to persuade them, it's just a custom. For example, this exchange would be normal in China:

 

Chinese person to foreigner: Your Chinese speaking is very good

Foreigner: No, no - it's really very bad

 

This is a correct exchange: the Chinese person would not come back and argue about it. Similarly, a parent complimented about their child will say, 'Oh no, he's very stupid.'

 

Gifts: Chinese people often don't open gifts when they are given. They say thank you very briefly and lay them to one side. This does not mean that they don't like the gift or don't appreciate the sentiment.

 

In the families that I know, most people stay in the public rooms most of the time. This may vary, of course, but bedrooms are often quite spartan and only used for sleeping or maybe studying.

 

Most Chinese people rarely snack but they do drink a lot of (usually green) tea. Although fruit is eaten as dessert in nice restaurants, it's not eaten much as a casual snack and not that much after meals at home. Most Chinese meals are savoury only. Our local fruit shop owner (who specialised in making up big fruit baskets as gifts) was amazed by the amount of fruit we bought.

 

Most Chinese people like to have a very high proportion of veggies to meat. I would say that it is at least fifty-fifty, with often much more veggie than meat.

 

Yes on the touching: some Chinese shake hands easily - many don't though. Hugs are rare.

 

Have fun!

 

Laura

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If complimented, a Chinese person will denigrate himself - don't try to persuade them, it's just a custom. For example, this exchange would be normal in China:

 

Chinese person to foreigner: Your Chinese speaking is very good

Foreigner: No, no - it's really very bad

 

This is a correct exchange: the Chinese person would not come back and argue about it. Similarly, a parent complimented about their child will say, 'Oh no, he's very stupid.'

 

Gifts: Chinese people often don't open gifts when they are given. They say thank you very briefly and lay them to one side. This does not mean that they don't like the gift or don't appreciate the sentiment.

 

In the families that I know, most people stay in the public rooms most of the time. This may vary, of course, but bedrooms are often quite spartan and only used for sleeping or maybe studying.

 

Most Chinese people rarely snack but they do drink a lot of (usually green) tea. Although fruit is eaten as dessert in nice restaurants, it's not eaten much as a casual snack and not that much after meals at home. Most Chinese meals are savoury only. Our local fruit shop owner (who specialised in making up big fruit baskets as gifts) was amazed by the amount of fruit we bought.

 

Most Chinese people like to have a very high proportion of veggies to meat. I would say that it is at least fifty-fifty, with often much more veggie than meat.

 

Yes on the touching: some Chinese shake hands easily - many don't though. Hugs are rare.

 

Have fun!

 

Laura

 

I was so hoping you'd see the post and answer, Laura. Thanks for this. I'm printing and will read it to all my children.

 

More questions about the gifts: On Christmas morning, they'll be here. Our children will take turns opening their gifts from their stockings and their one gift under the tree. I was wanting to provide the same for the visitors. If everyone is opening, will they? Is there something we should do to make them more comfortable in this situation? What would be some appropriate stocking and under-the-tree gifts?

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On Christmas morning, they'll be here. Our children will take turns opening their gifts from their stockings and their one gift under the tree. I was wanting to provide the same for the visitors. If everyone is opening, will they? Is there something we should do to make them more comfortable in this situation? What would be some appropriate stocking and under-the-tree gifts?

 

Ooo! Can I help with this too? ;) I LOVE Christmas, and sharing our Christmas traditions with guests! We even had a mock Christmas one July with our Chinese high school students.

 

Christmas is "our" holiday, so I'd encourage them to open their gifts right along with the rest of the family. If you went to China, you'd want to celebrate Chinese holidays the Chinese way...same with them. You could say, "On Christmas morning, we enjoy opening gifts together. We take turns." (Funny how we see so many little rituals that we just take for granted through different eyes when we have guests from another culture! :) ) Because they know your son better, you may be able to ask him to describe your Christmas morning and check in to make sure they'd be comfortable participating, but our experience across the board has been that our exchange friends have incredible enthusiasm for participating in our holidays.

 

I would put in the stockings the same candies and fruit that you put in your kids' stockings. (We always do an orange and a peppermint stick.) Our Chinese exchange students really enjoyed gifts not made in China. Not that you can't put in things made in China too! Local jams or nuts or candies, a postcard of your town, Slinkies, Mad Libs, sock monkeys.... Another popular gift for our exchange students has been card games. We like to play games like Blink and Uno, so we taught them to play a card game on a Family Game Night, then gave them the card game for a gift.

 

You are going to have so much fun! You'll have to check in and let us know how it went once the visit is over.

 

Cat

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More questions about the gifts: On Christmas morning, they'll be here. Our children will take turns opening their gifts from their stockings and their one gift under the tree. I was wanting to provide the same for the visitors. If everyone is opening, will they? Is there something we should do to make them more comfortable in this situation? What would be some appropriate stocking and under-the-tree gifts?

 

But if they don't want to, just leave it. They won't be embarrassed about not opening them - it's what they are used to. You might want to mention in advance to your children that they might not open their gifts.

 

What to give? A little photo album would be a great idea. I have found that photos of places without people aren't valued nearly as much as photos that show people in locations. I would go with specifically American things - perhaps specific to your locality. For example, if I were hosting Chinese people in Scotland, I'd buy them something in tartan, other local wool garments, perhaps something with the Scottish flag on it, maybe a framed photo..... That kind of thing.

 

Oh - and you might well get comments about the size of your family. A typical comment might be, 'You must be so tired with so many children.' This is a very polite comment, showing empathy with your situation, rather than any kind of implied criticism.

 

Laura

Edited by Laura Corin
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I have some experience with foreign exchange students, although not from China specifically. My Japanese friends love to come see us, and some of their customs are similar. So here is an idea that might be fun for one afternoon and evening of the visit: I have offered to take the students grocery shopping and have had them choose ingredients for them to cook our family a traditional meal from their country. I, of course, took them to the store and purchased the groceries, but they shopped and planned the entire meal. While they were preparing the meal, they enjoyed having me visit with them...but it does depend on personalities. I have asked, and most of the time the answer has been that they would love to show me how the dishes are prepared.

 

The joy of this whole thing is that there is an exchange of cultures that will be interesting to the whole family. My little Japanese "daughter" and her friends have LOVED to do this whenever they have come, and so did my Jordanian exchange sister in high school, who taught me how to make tabbouleh.

 

Along with helping them experience our culture, do give them a chance like this to share their own.

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

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Don't give clocks! (harbinger of death).

 

Doubles of things are good.

 

For stocking stuffers, I'd try to get the gold foil chocolate candies. Gold and red are "good" and festive colors. :) My MIL loves the red and gold candy canes I get for the tree each year.

 

Some folks say "Don't give books to anyone Cantonese," but even my Cantonese MIL who is all things superstitious, gives and receives books comfortably for Christmas.

 

Most of all, have fun!!!!

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Wow, what a timely thread! We've just become a host family to an international student, and we're having him over for the first time tomorrow evening. He's Chinese, so we've been wondering many of the same things.

 

He has said that so far, his favorite American food is pizza. :D However, he did say that he might like Mexican, so we're doing tacos tomorrow. I'll make sure to have loads of tomato and lettuce. ;) Fruit salad, as well? Or should I just make a veggie soup on the side and skip the fruit salad?

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He has said that so far, his favorite American food is pizza. :D However, he did say that he might like Mexican, so we're doing tacos tomorrow. I'll make sure to have loads of tomato and lettuce. ;) Fruit salad, as well? Or should I just make a veggie soup on the side and skip the fruit salad?

 

Refried beans and brown rice? Tortilla soup?

 

Our Chinese students liked Mexican food. Actually all of our students have like Mexican food!

 

Cat

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On food, be careful how much dairy you include in dishes. You'll notice most asian food doesn't include much cheese or diary. While American holiday food is full of cheese.

 

There has been a generational shift: older Chinese people tend not to consume much dairy, but the younger generation is more likely to. It's always worth asking if a Chinese person likes cheese in particular.

 

Laura

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Ooo! Can I help with this too? ;) I LOVE Christmas, and sharing our Christmas traditions with guests! We even had a mock Christmas one July with our Chinese high school students.

 

Christmas is "our" holiday, so I'd encourage them to open their gifts right along with the rest of the family. If you went to China, you'd want to celebrate Chinese holidays the Chinese way...same with them. You could say, "On Christmas morning, we enjoy opening gifts together. We take turns." (Funny how we see so many little rituals that we just take for granted through different eyes when we have guests from another culture! :) ) Because they know your son better, you may be able to ask him to describe your Christmas morning and check in to make sure they'd be comfortable participating, but our experience across the board has been that our exchange friends have incredible enthusiasm for participating in our holidays.

 

I would put in the stockings the same candies and fruit that you put in your kids' stockings. (We always do an orange and a peppermint stick.) Our Chinese exchange students really enjoyed gifts not made in China. Not that you can't put in things made in China too! Local jams or nuts or candies, a postcard of your town, Slinkies, Mad Libs, sock monkeys.... Another popular gift for our exchange students has been card games. We like to play games like Blink and Uno, so we taught them to play a card game on a Family Game Night, then gave them the card game for a gift.

 

You are going to have so much fun! You'll have to check in and let us know how it went once the visit is over.

 

Cat

 

This is all so helpful, Cat. Wonderful gift ideas! (We do the orange in the toe, too. :)) Thank you!

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I have some experience with foreign exchange students, although not from China specifically. My Japanese friends love to come see us, and some of their customs are similar. So here is an idea that might be fun for one afternoon and evening of the visit: I have offered to take the students grocery shopping and have had them choose ingredients for them to cook our family a traditional meal from their country. I, of course, took them to the store and purchased the groceries, but they shopped and planned the entire meal. While they were preparing the meal, they enjoyed having me visit with them...but it does depend on personalities. I have asked, and most of the time the answer has been that they would love to show me how the dishes are prepared.

 

The joy of this whole thing is that there is an exchange of cultures that will be interesting to the whole family. My little Japanese "daughter" and her friends have LOVED to do this whenever they have come, and so did my Jordanian exchange sister in high school, who taught me how to make tabbouleh.

 

Along with helping them experience our culture, do give them a chance like this to share their own.

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

 

This is a lovely idea. We will definitely do this. Thank you!

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Don't give clocks! (harbinger of death).

 

Doubles of things are good.

 

For stocking stuffers, I'd try to get the gold foil chocolate candies. Gold and red are "good" and festive colors. :) My MIL loves the red and gold candy canes I get for the tree each year.

 

Some folks say "Don't give books to anyone Cantonese," but even my Cantonese MIL who is all things superstitious, gives and receives books comfortably for Christmas.

 

Most of all, have fun!!!!

 

All good to know! Thanks.

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I think it is a good idea to keep in mind that your exchange students may not live out every "typical" behavior or may actually dislike things about their own culture. To some people, it is considerate to assume they know what you'll eat and want to do and what your beliefs are, but I find it can be a bit stifling. I personally find it irritating when people assume too much about me based on my culture, especially when people guess incorrectly about what my culture is. One nurse at the pediatrician's office assumed I was an overbearing mother, with no particular evidence for this, which I found really offensive. Also, by being an exchange student, they have demonstrated their interest in other cultures, which, let's be real, many people around the world don't really have. So they may enjoy wearing different clothes, eating different foods, and trying out different things.

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On food, be careful how much diary you include in dishes. You'll notice most asian food doesn't include much cheese or diary. While American holiday food is full of cheese.

 

LOL.:tongue_smilie: We own a jersey cow, and I make tons of cheese. Okay. I'm glad you mentioned this. I'll make sure there's always a variety of non-dairy options available.

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LOL.:tongue_smilie: We own a jersey cow, and I make tons of cheese. Okay. I'm glad you mentioned this. I'll make sure there's always a variety of non-dairy options available.

 

But see--I don't think you should automatically assume that they won't like cheese and not serve it--especially if you have your own Jersey and make cheese yourself! How cool is that? If you went to China, wouldn't part of the fun be tasting new things? Just make sure that there are other things on the table that you are pretty sure they do like.

 

A Chinese couple whom we invited for Thanksgiving one year loved the mashed potatoes--totally not part of their culture! They mixed them with the salad, but hey, they really liked them and raved about them for a long time afterward. So definitely let them try foods that are traditional to your family . ( I don't think they particularly liked the salad and I don't believe I've ever seen raw veges on a Chinese menu, so that may be a texture that is kind of foreign--but again, let them taste and find new things they like!)

 

And I agree about the Mexican/Chinese thing. We have a lot of Mexican immigrants in our area and the only nonMexican restaurant that I see a lot of Mexican patrons in is a Chinese buffet. :)

Edited by Laurie4b
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Disclaimer - I haven't read all the replies, so this may be a repeat. :tongue_smilie:

 

This suggestion is as much for you as for them. Take them to an Asian food market and let them fill a cart for a few meals. They can teach you what everything is and teach you how to prepare the meals as well. They'll have the treat of having some familiar foods to enjoy. :)

 

I'd also recommend sightseeing opportunities. It doesn't have to be major sights or major cities, although those offer some great options, but even just the small local attractions are fun. Just about everything here is different than in China, so it's all interesting. You can ask them if they have any particular interests and offer some suggestions for places to go based on that. If they're like most residential college students, they probably don't get off campus too much, so the school break is a great time to do that.

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But see--I don't think you should automatically assume that they won't like cheese and not serve it--especially if you have your own Jersey and make cheese yourself! How cool is that? If you went to China, wouldn't part of the fun be tasting new things? Just make sure that there are other things on the table that you are pretty sure they do like.

 

A Chinese couple whom we invited for Thanksgiving one year loved the mashed potatoes--totally not part of their culture! They mixed them with the salad, but hey, they really liked them and raved about them for a long time afterward. So definitely let them try foods that are traditional to your family . ( I don't think they particularly liked the salad and I don't believe I've ever seen raw veges on a Chinese menu, so that may be a texture that is kind of foreign--but again, let them taste and find new things they like!)

 

And I agree about the Mexican/Chinese thing. We have a lot of Mexican immigrants in our area and the only nonMexican restaurant that I see a lot of Mexican patrons in is a Chinese buffet. :)

 

Oh, no, I'm not saying I won't serve cheese. There would be a revolt among my own family members. And what would I do with all that milk? I'm just saying I'll make sure there are alternatives available, which really will not be that hard around here.

 

Cute mashed potato story. :001_smile:

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Don't know where your students are coming from, but we had Chinese students come from Hunan province, and they liked their food SPICY FIRE HOT. I got a jar of Hunan Red Chili Sauce, and they piled it on.

 

Would I find this at a regular (er..um...slightly pathetic small town actually) grocery store?

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Pizza and pasta are well accepted American food by Chinese people. It's safe to serve them. Baked goods that are not too sweet (with no frosting) are good treats. Clear chicken soup (not the thick kind) in winter will be well appreciated as well.

 

If they are staying for a month, you might want to provide them with slippers to wear around the house. Chinese people don't wear shoes in the house, and most of them feel uncomfortable doing so in other people's house.

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Oh dang, and Oh good.

 

For the Chinese people who own the local Chinese Buffet (and have talked to my kids about China for homeschooling and are very nice to us), I gave them a veeery sweet chocolate dessert on Christmas when we went to their restaurant. I wonder if they liked it....

 

BUT, later on Chinese New Year, when they had a special (free) party for their favorite customers with "true" Chinese food (and not the fake Chinese-American buffet food), we offered them a gift. I wondered why they didn't open it when I offered it, and wished they had, but I'm REALLY glad I didn't insist.

 

 

I like the idea of offering something they like along side with what you already do. That way, they can jump in and do things like Americans do, but if they're feeling overwhelmed, they can fall back on what they like. (Like telling them that we usually open gifts together, but then telling them that it's ok if they don't.)

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If they are staying for a month, you might want to provide them with slippers to wear around the house. Chinese people don't wear shoes in the house, and most of them feel uncomfortable doing so in other people's house.

 

:svengo: Excellent point. You would think as I tripped over the 900 pair of shoes in-and-out of the front door, that might have colored my response earlier. :lol:

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I spent a year in Taiwan, and my dd's best friends here are Chinese-American, so I know a little about Chinese culture. But don't worry- they are here to learn English and learn about American culture and they are young people, so it will be fine.

 

American youth, sex, drugs, rock and roll and media culture will probably be somewhat of a shock for them. If you think of them as nuns or as very sheltered homeschoolers, you won't be too far off the mark. They won't be used to the loose morals and the party culture of young Americans. But that isn't anything that you would be exposing them to anyway.

 

Christmas is not a holiday in China. But New Year's is a holiday and Chinese New Year, which is held later and is based on the lunar calendar is the biggest holiday of the year. They aren't used to giving or getting presents. In China, instead of gifts, on Chinese New Year you give money in red envelopes, but mostly just to family members.

 

Receiving gifts can actually be a problem for Chinese because then they will feel that they have to reciprocate.

 

If you have any problem communicating with them, you can write down what you are saying. Their reading ability is probably much higher than their comprehension. And if you give them a piece of paper, do it with both hands, rather than just one as Americans do.

 

They are probably used to eating a lot of rice, noodles and vegetables. But many young Chinese now eat at American fast food places, so burgers and fries might be familiar to them.

 

Other types of foreign cuisine will be very foreign to them- other than Chinese and American. Italian or Mexican food will be a new experience for them probably.

 

They aren't like Brazilians (I realize we are dealing with stereotypes here). They will be more conservative and more reserved and more studious. Wild parties and dancing is probably not what they are used to. They have a great respect for authority and would never be disrespectful to an authority figure. But, they might enjoy the freedom and spontaneity of American culture.

 

Anyway, they are coming for a new experience. I'm sure they will enjoy themselves at your home.

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So we had our Chinese guest tonight. He seemed to like the tacos, though he didn't know how to eat them (we explained each "part" and he followed our lead). I was surprised by the fact that he didn't know what the lettuce was!

 

I served Clementines and sliced Honeycrisp apples. He didn't comment on the one apple slice he took, but he seemed very curious about the Clementines and seemed to enjoy them a lot... after watching me to see how to peel it. He's only familiar with two kinds of oranges... big and small. :lol: Apparently they don't have a lot of fruit variety in the area where he's from.

 

He took his shoes off at the door. He also brought gifts for me. :001_smile:

 

He observed our many books and seemed impressed. :D He and my oldest dd talked Biology for a little bit.

 

He was very prompt, both arriving and leaving. He had told us he'd need to leave by 7:30, and at 7:30 on the dot, he was out the door!

 

We asked him about games, and the only thing he's played since being here is Poker. :smilielol5: We got out the Phase 10 card game and taught him how to play... and he won every stinkin' round. LOL

 

His English was pretty good for the most part, but he spoke in a very low voice. Since I have some trouble with hearing, I had difficulty not so much with interpretation (though I did have to listen carefully), but with simply hearing what he said. Thus, dh had to fill in a few lines for me... but it worked out fine. We had to search for a few "replacement" words for him as well, since he didn't understand some of the terms we used.

 

Every time my dh got up to walk into another room, even just to get something, he followed.

 

OH, here's something.... he didn't know what ice was, or how we get it! Dh took him to the freezer to show him and explain. He didn't want any. :tongue_smilie: And when I offered tea to drink, he declined! That surprised me. Maybe he's tired of it? LOL. I don't know, but he dranks lots of water!

 

All in all it was a great evening. We enjoyed getting to know him, and he seemed to enjoy us and indicated (by demeanor, not just words) that he looks forward to getting together again.

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So we had our Chinese guest tonight. He seemed to like the tacos, though he didn't know how to eat them (we explained each "part" and he followed our lead). I was surprised by the fact that he didn't know what the lettuce was!

 

I served Clementines and sliced Honeycrisp apples. He didn't comment on the one apple slice he took, but he seemed very curious about the Clementines and seemed to enjoy them a lot... after watching me to see how to peel it. He's only familiar with two kinds of oranges... big and small. :lol: Apparently they don't have a lot of fruit variety in the area where he's from.

 

He took his shoes off at the door. He also brought gifts for me. :001_smile:

 

He observed our many books and seemed impressed. :D He and my oldest dd talked Biology for a little bit.

 

He was very prompt, both arriving and leaving. He had told us he'd need to leave by 7:30, and at 7:30 on the dot, he was out the door!

 

We asked him about games, and the only thing he's played since being here is Poker. :smilielol5: We got out the Phase 10 card game and taught him how to play... and he won every stinkin' round. LOL

 

His English was pretty good for the most part, but he spoke in a very low voice. Since I have some trouble with hearing, I had difficulty not so much with interpretation (though I did have to listen carefully), but with simply hearing what he said. Thus, dh had to fill in a few lines for me... but it worked out fine. We had to search for a few "replacement" words for him as well, since he didn't understand some of the terms we used.

 

Every time my dh got up to walk into another room, even just to get something, he followed.

 

OH, here's something.... he didn't know what ice was, or how we get it! Dh took him to the freezer to show him and explain. He didn't want any. :tongue_smilie: And when I offered tea to drink, he declined! That surprised me. Maybe he's tired of it? LOL. I don't know, but he dranks lots of water!

 

All in all it was a great evening. We enjoyed getting to know him, and he seemed to enjoy us and indicated (by demeanor, not just words) that he looks forward to getting together again.

 

I love it! Sounds like a great evening for you all!

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And when I offered tea to drink, he declined! That surprised me. Maybe he's tired of it? LOL. I don't know, but he dranks lots of water!

 

OK, this doesn't surprise me. Water is undrinkable in China. So the stuff here we have is really good. :) Tea in China is really good. The stuff we have here is really undrinkable. :)

 

Sounds like a lovely evening!

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I hosted a Thai foreign exchange student. She came from a big city, so she was more mainstream than an Asian student from a smaller city/village.

 

She appreciated going to the Asain market here in town (we don't even live in a big town!!) and liked trying new foods. Let them know that they are welcome to cook something for themselves if they do not care for your food. As long as they know you are not going to be offended, they may take you up on that offer!!! She would cook herself an egg and rice meal probably a couple times a month. Either because she was hungry before we were or she didn't want to eat what I made. She said that I cooked similar to Thai cooking, and it was not as bad as she thought. It helps that my DH is half Thai, though! I don't usually cook the "American" foods like casseroles and the like.

 

She had never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before she came here. She thought it sounded gross, but once she tried it, she LOVED it, and ate it for lunch almost every day! And nutella... she loved nutella sandwiches!

 

You could always try to keep rice available, at least the first week. If they don't want to eat it, then you don't need to worry about it. They are here to experience our culture, so they may surprise you at what they are willing to put up with!

 

Most likely, if their family can afford to send them to the US, they are fairly wealthy, and will be able to relate to the American culture. Our foreign exchange student loved her computer, texting on her cell phone, watching tv, and playing on the iPod touch that we bought for her birthday.

How long have they been in the US? They may have already experienced a lot of American culture so you don't have to worry about offending them (too much).

 

Have fun, and they will too!

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About Christmas: China has got a rather confused idea about what the festival is about in the West. A lot of Chinese people think that it is about going out to a restaurant/bar with friends - I suspect that there is a confusion between Christmas and New Year customs. I'm sure that your exchange students won't try to plan your day for you, but just in case they ask about going out clubbing (!) you will know where this is coming from.

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Most Chinese people drink water warm or hot.

 

Laura

 

Ahhhh.... Thank you for the clarification!

 

I should've mentioned earlier that while I assume he knows what ice is -- he lives near the Yellow Sea and I assume it gets cold enough there to ice over? -- he didn't know what ice cubes were. :tongue_smilie:

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To the OP.... A friend of ours had a Chinese student (a girl) for Thanksgiving. She was SHOCKED at the fact that we roast in the oven and then eat a WHOLE turkey! My friend said she did enjoy it, though. And she *loved* the mashed potatoes, which I thought was funny since that had been mentioned in this thread.

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To the OP.... A friend of ours had a Chinese student (a girl) for Thanksgiving. She was SHOCKED at the fact that we roast in the oven and then eat a WHOLE turkey! My friend said she did enjoy it, though. And she *loved* the mashed potatoes, which I thought was funny since that had been mentioned in this thread.

 

Is supposed to have come from lack of fuel: there was enormous pressure on firewood, and giving food a large relative surface area by cutting it up small made it cook quicker. Most Chinese people do not own ovens - they might eat Peking Duck at a restaurant, but would never roast (or bake) anything at home.

 

Laura

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Young people are ok with cheese and salad now. I am from China and I got plenty of exposure to American food since I had 5 American coworkers that I ate out or in with almost every day.

Young people now grew up with McDonald's and KFCs and other things. So they should be ok with some American food.

But do offer them fruit as dessert on top of your own regular dessert and you will find out which they prefer.

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