By Olivia H.

I was unsure of what to anticipate for my homestay experience. As I walked up the six flights of stairs to reach my host families apartment, I wondered how the next couple of days would go.

The two-story apartment, where I spent the next five days, was beautiful and nicely furnished. My host student, Shirley, took me up a small flight of stairs to show me where I would be sleeping. The loft-like area included: a bedroom, a bathroom and balconies for drying clothing.

Before the trip we were informed that numerous houses and apartments do not have heating. To prepare for the possibility of being cold all night, I packed multiple pairs of sweatpants and sweatshirts. I also brought my own blanket, just in case. Unlike most of my fellow classmates, I was blessed with a heating system.

Each morning I would wake up around 7:30am and be ready for breakfast by 8:00am. Tuesday and Thursday mornings my host family took me out to breakfast. On Monday and Wednesday, however, my host mother cooked wonderful dumplings and noodles. Breakfast time was usually quiet considering the language barrier. Once I finished my breakfast either my host mother or host father would take us to school to begin the day’s adventures.

Every night my host family took me to a new and exciting place to eat dinner. While I do not have a favorite restaurant from this trip, they successfully helped me experience the famous cuisine of Jiangsu Province.

As I was leaving my host family’s house on the last morning of my stay, they informed me that if I decide to come back to China, they will welcome me with opens arms. This trip to China is one for the books, and it could not have been possible if it weren’t for the generous and caring host families from Yangzhou.