This month’s Star Student is 16 year old Alex from Taiwan. His host family, the Newtons, are truly impressed by Alex and feel that he has been an absolute delight to have in their home.
Since he arrived in Minnesota, Alex has been eager to learn about out American way of life, and is always eager to share with us traditions from his own culture in Taiwan. Can you imagine a 15 year old boy, living on the 13th floor of a big city high rise, suddenly moving to a small rural town, where he attends an even smaller Christian school, and declaring that he “loves everything about my new home”?
Six months into the program, we are often up late discussing the differences and similarities of our respective countries. The evening dinner is always our “debriefing” time for the family. As we trade stories about our experiences of the day, much is learned about each other. We have also observed Alex’s appreciation and sense of cooperation with our Japanese student. It is truly amazing to gain understanding from each other, when we represent three different cultures, languages and generations.
His keen observation of human behavior combined with his near mastery of English allows us to have some very interesting conversations. And the fact that we both love watching and discussing movies makes for a very pleasant home life.
He has risen to every academic challenge with tremendous courage and insight, displaying a remarkable gift for English-speaking. He is even on the Speech Team and is about to compete in the Minnesota State High school league competitions for the next three months.
From the start, Alex also let us know that he wanted to volunteer as much as he could this academic year. He walked to our local nursing home and asked if he could volunteer in some way. He agreed to receive the training required and is now volunteering for them, bringing much delight to the residents.
He continues to thrive in so many ways, from teaching a Chinese chess, canning turkey to go to the Ukraine, raking leaves for senior citizens, serving popcorn at a children’s fair, speaking at several banquets to making presentations to students in other schools about his home country.
Oh yes, and travelling to the Twin cities to wrap over one thousand gift boxes for Operation Christmas child.
We are honored to have such a wonderful young man in our home this school year. Alex is truly a part of our family.