Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coaching Stephen and Joan

I am going to the Expo with an 18-year-old boy whose English name is Stephen. Earlier in my trip I spent a couple of days with a 16-year-old girl. She had given herself the English name of Linda but we changed it to Joan. Both Stephen and Joan want a US Visa to go to the US to study so I am trying to coach them on their English, and give them a lot of practice in speaking to me! This is necessary for them to “pass” their Embassy interview.

I have really enjoyed the time I spent with both of them. They are very sweet and appreciative. Stephen even took me shopping on Sunday to the Silk Market with his mother. His mother does not speak English but she is VERY stylish and I appreciated her opinions on what to buy – and what not to buy. Yes, I did buy a Chinese-style dress. She smiled and said that she has never bought such a dress. But that is what I have found—it is the foreigners who wear the Chinese-style clothing, not the Chinese!

Anyway, I think Stephen will be glad when I go home—a day shopping and two days at the Expo! He’s ready for a break, I’m sure.

I asked my business partner here in China, who handles these immigration matters for clients, why Chinese students want to come to America for high school, when in the US we complain about our failing education system. She says, the Chinese system is so rigorous that the students—and parents—don’t like it. They gain no “social skills”, and this is important if they want to do global work. Stephen’s father owns a very successful company that manufactures valves and taps for oil wells. Stephen does not want to go into that business, he wants to start his own business and build it up. Right now he is thinking of being an engineer—that is, when he’s not thinking about playing basketball (no wonder we get along so well!)

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