BVH welcomes Chinese guest students


Lucia Rivera

Five of the chinese exchange students pose alongside Program Coordinator Carla Ruiz-Velasco. This was one of the last things they did before driving away on one of the Sweetwater Union High School District school buses from their final day on the Bonita Vista High campus.

Haley Lester and Mia Enriquez

On Monday morning Jan. 28, five Chinese students sent from the New Oriental English School in Beijing were greeted by Bonita Vista High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) as they spent their first day as exchange students at BVH.

“We welcomed them with cheer and a big celebration including performances from the Vocal Music Department,” senior and ASB Vice President Allison Yetter said.

According to Yetter, after the celebration, the ASB and guest students had pizza together and played games such as Concentration and Two Truths and One Lie to get to know each other.

The students’ two week trip to BVH was organized by the New Oriental English School in Beijing, China. Each Chinese student was assigned a BVH student to shadow them, following their student companion to their scheduled classes, learning and interacting with BVH teachers and curriculum. This is done so the guest students know what a typical day is as an American student.

BVH junior Dante Whitney and his Chinese partner who goes by “Peter,” found the exchange program enriching, noting the differences between Chinese curriculum and American curriculum.

“I took a math quiz today, for us it took only like 20-30 minutes and [Peter] says his math quizzes are usually an hour long. He says they rarely watch videos in China and in Mrs. Ekstein’s class we’re watching two to three videos a week,” Whitney said.

According to Peter, the atmosphere in American schools is different in comparison to the school he attends in Beijing.

“My school is more strict on the students, and the students here are more relaxed,” Peter said.

However, the Chinese students’ trip was not only limited to their academic experiences on BVH’s campus. The guest students also visited the University of California San Diego and ended up spending a day at Seaworld.

Additionally, they also became involved in on-campus, non-academic activities organized by BVH staff and students. They attended basketball games and even participated in a basketball game held in the gym during lunch on Feb. 7.

Ultimately, both the American students and the Chinese students felt that they benefited from the exchange program. They received a farewell from the ASB during the Winter Sports Assembly on Feb. 8 with a video of the basketball game and gifts.

“Having someone with you all day from a different country is a really cool experience. You learn a lot about another country that you don’t usually [learn] in history classes,” Whitney said.