ERDT EnVision’s New Homestay Program For Volunteers From China

Zhang Yang and Li Yifan at Tabitha’s Way in American Fork, Utah

One of ERDT enVision’s newest short-term programs, “Volunteer Home Stay,” provides Chinese university students referred by our long-time representative in China, China Service Center for Educational Exchange, with meaningful hands-on training while volunteering in a dynamic organization, helping students to develop and strengthen professional skills in an environment that enriches their academic experiences.   Professional development opportunities generally involve placement at a local non-profit agency or public service office.  As with all ERDT enVision programs, participants live with American host families, who arrange for their daily transportation to and from the agency where they are engaging in their volunteer work.

Moona is the Chinese volunteer giving the V (for volunteer) sign. She volunteered at NewGate Solutions in Chula Vista, CA.

 

Coordinators, host families, and host organizations in southern California—from San Diego to the High Desert about 2 hours east of Los Angeles, as well as in American Fork, Utah, could not say enough good things about their experiences. We received about 25 participants this winter.  Each student was moved by their individual experiences, which helped them understand and embrace the spirit of giving so abundant in America.  Along with their full days of working hard for their local non-profit organizations, the opportunity to live with an American host family was notably meaningful.

Our local Volunteer Home Stay coordinator, Rosemary Netzel, placed Xing Jiawei with Jennifer Stidham – an ERDT enVision Area Manager – for a four-week stay this winter.

William, host Jennifer Stidham, and Sophia

 

Below is a letter that Jiawei (English name: William), wrote to Jennifer:

Dear Mummy,

I have already arrived in my hometown, Taiyuan, and Sophia has arrived in Xi’an. Our trip was comfortable, and everything is OK.

I learned so much during this 4 weeks. Before I went to the U.S.  I was a little upset because I can’t be with my family during   Chinese New Year, and this would be the first time that I ever had to leave my family and live in another country for a long time. Everything was unknown. But when I started to live and work in California, I was really happy every day. Mummy, you and Sophia really helped me a lot during this 4 weeks, and I didn’t even miss home for a moment. Now when I get home, I really miss you and your three dogs, Pork Chop, Lamb Chop and Tuesday. There is always my home.

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to you, mummy. Although I’m kind of shy and I didn’t use to say too much in front of other people, I think I need to let you know what are my real thoughts, so I decided to send this email to you. I said to Sophia more than one time, ‘ I love mummy so much that I want to be a person like her in the future’. You are always kind, cheerful, optimistic and considerate. As Rosemary and Sandy said, you are wonderful! You always said Sophia and me are the best students you’ve ever had, but I also want to say that you are the best person I have ever met! 

Once Sophia and me made a bet, and she won. I said I can make one of her wishes come true. She thought for a while and said, ‘I want you to come back with me to see mummy one day’, and I promised her. That is what I wish for as well. So, mummy, we will meet you when we go to study in the U.S. ! You are always our mummy!

I just had dumplings for dinner, but I really miss cheeseburger.

Best wished to you, mummy. Hope you recover from back pain as soon as possible. Hope you be happy and healthy every day. I love America. I love California. I love you from bottom of my heart.

Love,

your William

 

Another email was received from Randy, a participant in the High Desert, whose host was Janelle Pelayo-Denno, an Area Manager for enVision.  Randy’s coordinator was Rosalie Garro.

You can see Randy’s new friend, a special needs preschooler, clinging to his leg 🙂

Hi,

I’m Randy from China. I’ve just finished my four-week volunteering at Apple Valley Christian School. Thanks to the kind help from my host family and teachers of the school, I didn’t face a lot of trouble and instead, really enjoyed this experience.

I started my work at 8 a.m. In the morning I helped in elementary school classrooms with group reading, grading, and whatever else the teachers needed. In the afternoon, I came to the library or the high school’s P.E. classes. In the library, I helped with organizing and restocking the books. For P.E. classes, I helped with P.E. program assisting the teacher with the class and joined them for games. On several occasions I helped teachers of all grades and subjects to proctor tests and quizzes. I enjoyed my volunteering time!

What impressed me most during my volunteering time was a special needs girl of preschool.  Every time she saw me she rushed to me and gave me a warm hug. I helped her with her writing, painting and reading. She always talked to herself something that I couldn’t understand, but she always gave me a big smile and said how much she loved me. I was deeply touched when the time I was leaving at my last day. She held me tightly and never let me go. I patted her shoulder, consoled her with soft words, and her teacher also persuaded her to let me go. But she just held onto me and caught me tightly, without a word, for almost two minutes. That moment I really felt that all my efforts here paid off. I should say thank you to all the kids and teachers there.

Four weeks went by fast, but the experience won’t fade with time in my memory. I hope the program can recruit more students and volunteers to help those in need, and I wish a bigger success of the program.

 Best regards,

 Randy

 

One of our volunteer partners posted this fabulous article in their monthly newsletter:

 

 

ERDT enVision anticipates bringing about 70 Volunteer Home Stay participants to the U.S. in summer 2017 and expanding beyond CA and UT!  Stay tuned for developments….

 

ERDT enVision China Adventure 2016!

A group of 10 teachers for the enVision Social Research in America (SRA) program visited China from November 5 to November 14, 2016. The SRA course is held twice a year – winter (January/February) and summer (July/August). The participants are Chinese university students who come to California for a 17-day home stay and culture program that is structured around five topic areas: Education, Public Safety, Healthcare, Public Service & Volunteerism, & Family Structure. Workshops relevant to each topic area are given & onsite visits to universities, community colleges, & high schools; police & fire departments; hospitals & medical centers; & local community non-profit organizations are provided.

A group of 10 teachers for the enVision Social Research in America (SRA) program visited China from November 5 to November 14, 2016. The SRA course is held twice a year – winter (January/February) and summer (July/August). The participants are Chinese university students who come to California for a 17-day home stay and culture program that is structured around five topic areas: Education, Public Safety, Healthcare, Public Service & Volunteerism, & Family Structure. Workshops relevant to each topic area are given & onsite visits to universities, community colleges, & high schools; police & fire departments; hospitals & medical centers; & local community non-profit organizations are provided.

The group, accompanied by Roger Riske, ERDT President Emeritus; Colin Churchill, ERDT Executive Director; Tracy Gautier ERDT enVision Director, arrived on Saturday, November 5.  On Sunday, November 6, while struggling heroically with jetlag, the group visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing.

From left to right: Cindy Vance, Karen McGovern, Eric Gautier, Jonathan Livermore, Tracy Gautier, Margarita Chang, Colin Churchill, Rosemary Netzel, Anna Zhang, Mandy Osburn, Alfonso Alvarez, Tronie Rifkin, Detra Sims, Stacy Simpson.

On Monday, November 7, the group met with personnel from our Beijing-based Chinese partner, CSCEE (China Service Center for Educational Exchanges).

Here the group is welcomed by Jerry Wang, CSCEE President, & Anna Zhang, CSCEE Program Specialist in charge of the SRA program.

We listened attentively…. From right to left: Mandy Osburn, Eric Gautier, Tronie Rifkin, Detra Sims, Rosemary Netzel

On Monday & Tuesday, the group split into traveling pairs and departed to various universities throughout China to meet with university personnel, and to give presentations to prospective applicants for the Winter 2017 SRA program. Teachers also had the opportunity to meet with students from university student SRA groups that they have taught in previous years.

Here Karen McGovern & Mandy Osburn meet with Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) students whom Karen taught on the SRA program in Summer 2016.

As well as Beijing & Nantong, enVision SRA teachers visited universities in Dalian, Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen.

The group reconvened in Beijing on Friday, November 11, and under the direction of CSCEE staff, made a series of promotional videos in support of the program.

The group went sightseeing to the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, and the Temple of Heaven on Saturday & Sunday, and returned to California on Monday, November 14.

Stacy Simpson enjoys hot pot with the SRA students from Nantong University (near Shanghai) whom she taught in Summer 2017:

 

 

 

Foreign Exchange Programs in California.006

Calaveras Enterprise (August 13, 2013)

East met West in Calaveras County and the results were enlightening. “My dream is that earth will become like a big village and all the people will make good friends in peace without any limitation,” said 26-year-old Maxine, a college student visiting from Hunan Agricultural University in China. Maxine, 10 other university students and their adviser, Kevin Liu, are in the midst of a two-week cultural exchange sponsored by Educational Resource Development Trust enVision. The students, ranging in age from 19 to 26, are staying with host families in Murphys and Angels Camp. Their goal is to learn about American institutions – education, health and safety, government, volunteerism and family life – and to compare them with ways of life in China.

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Foreign Exchange Programs in California.007

Caliveras Enterprise (August 14, 2012)

A group of foreign exchange students from China stand with Sgt. Chis Hewitt, Cpl. Rick Dibasilio and Deputy Matt Anderson of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, holding unloaded weapons used by the Sheriff’s Office. Hewitt led the students on a tour of the Calaveras County Jail and answered questions they asked as part of a sociological research project they’re working on comparing China to America.

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