I’ve now been living with my Beijing host family for a couple of weeks. Yay! They are all very warm, friendly, helpful, and open. I am so excited to spend even more time with them. Whenever students are thinking about host families they probably don’t think about some of the interesting question they will receive. When I first came to China I was much shyer and I didn’t have very good speaking skills so my previous family and I didn’t really deviate from the standard questions about hobbies etc. however, this year my family and I have been able to have some very interesting conversations.
For those of you who are American’s hoping to study abroad you should realize that you will be questioned on everything and anything. You should definitely prepare for this before you come to China or any other country This is an outline of topics and questions that I have discussed with my family in the last three weeks. The outline is supposed to show the threads of how one question can easily lead to another. I would not have imagined I would even be able to discuss these topics in Chinese when I was back in America.
(a) How is home education legal
(b) What is every step of the American college application process like?
1. Do you think the SAT is harder than the Gao Kao (Chinese College Entrance Exam)?
(c) Is American education better than a Chinese education?
1. Which is easier?
(d) Why don’t you want to go to a Chinese college?
(e) Aren’t many college majors useless now?
1. What do you think is the least useless major?
(a) Do American’s eat this?
(b) Are you Pescatarian/ Vegetarian because you are Muslim? What about Jewish?
1. Why don’t Muslims and Jewish people eat pork?
2. Why don’t they drink alcohol?
3. Do you know many Muslim and Jewish people?
4. Do you think ISIS is bad?
(c ) Why do you always drink cold drinks?
1. You caught a cold because you drank cold water, didn’t you?
(a) Do you like Obama?
(b) Do you like Hillary Clinton?
(c ) Can you vote?
1. Will you vote for Hillary?
2. What are American voting laws like anyways?
(d) Do you think that American economics are picking up?
1. How exactly did the 2008 financial crisis work?
(e) Do you know who Mao is?
(f) Do you know who Vladimir Putin is?
(g) Do you like to watch TED Talks too? Let’s watch one about N. Korea.
1. What is your opinion on N. Korea?
4. Life Skills
(a) Do you think China’s traffic is worse than New Jersey’s.
1. Can you drive?
2. How expensive are driving classes?
3. How Expensive is your Dad’s car?
(b) We want your sister to learn CPR so that if there is an emergency one of us can do something. Can you do CPR?
1. Why do you know CPR and First Aid?
2. How does CPR work anyway?
3. Please demonstrate how to do CPR.
4. Do all American schools have multiple defibrillator?
(c) Do you have a credit card?
1. Is it normal for teenagers to have a credit card?
2. Do you like using cards or cash?
(a) Q: What is America’s most dangerous city?
A: I think Detroit but let me check…. Wow! It’s actually Camden NJ. I live really close to there.
Q: Is it really scary.
A: If you go to the bad parts it would probably be scary.
(b) Is Camden dangerous because it has many African Americans?
1. How does a person’s race affect their socioeconomic status and were they live?
2. How does a person’s location and socioeconomic status effect their education?
3. How could all of this lead to them joining a gang?
(c) Do you know about any American gangs?
1. Why do some wear red and some wear blue?
2. How do gangs work?
(a) How much does your house cost?
(b) Did you know that since Chinese homes are so expensive many students can’t afford to live in the cities?
1. Is it the same in the US?
Basically be prepared for anything and everything, especially if you have an above beginner speaking level. If you’re in the US now waiting to move abroad maybe you should look up how much a car costs! Even if you think you’ve researched everything there will probably still be a question that will throw you for a loop