“AFS is truly a transformative experience. In order for American students to become globally aware and globally competitive, they need to leave their comfort zone and expand their horizons. I tell students that taking advantage of the experiences and opportunities AFS offers will be life-changing. I encourage them to take the plunge.”
The activity was tamale making, organized by Grace, and hosted by Aurora, sister of Grace, and husband Jesus at their home in Perris, about 20 miles north of Temecula. Attendees were Christian , CB from Germany and host mom Darla from Menifee; Ksenia, FLEX student from Russia, hosted in La Verne, Tohari, YES from Indonesia, hosted in Apple Valley; and Nur, YES from Philippines, hosted in San Marcos.
All kids were involved...
Xueqian (April) Huang, 17, of China, joined Scripps Ranch High School student body last fall to learn about the culture of the United States so she decided to participate in as many extracurricular activities as possible. She wanted others to understand her culture as well. “We talked about how we would bring the Chinese culture during orientation (for AFS exchange students) in China,” April recalled.
April has accomplished her goals having immersed herself in the high school culture and introducing many SRHS students to China. Before she left her home in Changzhou, she went to the SRHS website to see what was offered. At the bottom of the clubs list, she said, was a statement that students with interests not met by existing clubs could start their own. That’s what April did by starting the Chinese Club. With Advisor Julia Knoff, a teacher, and about 15 Scripps students the club has met every Friday throughout the year. The students have studied various aspects of Chinese culture. They have practiced paper cutting, making lanterns and learned how to use chopsticks via fun games, to name a few activities. “For Halloween, we had painting Chinese makeup,” April said of the club’s efforts to incorporate Chinese culture with American observances. In January, they celebrated the Chinese New Year, by cooking traditional New Year fare. “We made dumplings and ate them,” April said. They also had speakers such as a Kung Fu master.