Joy’s Story


Katherine Wallace and Claire Willis take a selfie with their assigned Chinese exchange students, Joy and Chachi. Photo taken by Claire Willis.

 At the beginning of February, Gig Harbor High School got the opportunity to host a group of Chinese exchange students. The Tides were assigned to an exchange student who shadowed them, that is, followed alongside them to all of their classes for the entire week.

It was not only a learning experience for the Chinese exchange students, as they got to live a week in the lives of an American high school student, but also a learning experience for the Tides as they in turn learned more about education in China. Claire Willis, who was a host for an exchange student named Joy (Hou Xinyi), was surprised to learn that “at the boarding school that she attends, she has to have short hair, and all the free time she has is dedicated to doing homework which usually lasts about 3-4 hours.” Katherine Wallace, who was also a host for an exchange student was humbled by the Chinese students’ astonishing “eleven hour school days,” not including their four hour break.

The following is a short passage written by Joy (Hou Xinyi) about her personal experience during her American visit.


I came to America on February 1st. Seattle is a beautiful and clean city, people who lives in  this city has lazy and free life.

On February 2nd, I visited Boeing! The weather was very nice! I have long time no see blue sky. The factory was very huge and unbelievable, I saw the planes how to make at here, but the leader didn’t allow me to take phones or cameras in it…so I just took some photos of the factory outside.

    On the weekend, I had a concert of Katy Perry! I like this singer very much. How exciting that day! I will never forget that day!

    On Monday, it was my first day to go to school. I went to Gig Harbor High School. It was the first time for me to go to America high school. I met my shadow friend who called Claire Wills. She was very friendly and beautiful. I like she very much! The headmaster showed me around the high school.This School was very nice. I took some classes which I never heard in chinese school with Claire. I like the jewelry classes and Math classes! Because I had a good time when I have jewelry classes. Math is my favorite subject. I think America math is very easy for me. In Math class when I first saw the problem I immediately knew how to solve it. How is interesting!

    In next days, I’ll have more and more America friends. I’m very happy to make friends with America teenagers.They are very  friendly and enthusiasm. In this school, I saw a lot of beautiful girls and handsome boys! I love America very much! Now, I don’t want go home anymore!!!


A special thanks to all the Tides for being good hosts and making the experiences for the Chinese students great ones!