A Greenheart in Green Bay

Already back home in Jinan, China for the summer, Xiaofei Yang was happy to talk about her experience on Greenheart’s F-1 High School Academic Program over a Skype interview. She has a couple of months to reconnect with friends and family at home before traveling back to Green Bay, Wisconsin for her senior year of high school.

Over one year ago, Xiaofei chose to attend Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay. She met many good friends, loved her host family, and grew to appreciate the American teaching style that included games, presentations, and group projects. It also happened to be the first year that Notre Dame offered a Chinese class to its students, so Xiaofei had the opportunity to help her American peers by sharing her own culture and language with them. She was even invited to Milwaukee to play her traditional Chinese flute during the opening ceremonies of a Chinese Speaking Contest.

Xiaofei also appreciated being able to teach her host family about her culture while learning about American culture. This sharing and open-minded attitude led Xiaofei to participate in some volunteering activities in Green Bay throughout the year.

I was invited by my host mom’s school to give the 3rd grade class an hour and a half long class to talk about China with them. I brought a video to let them watch, and some almond crackers to let them try; luckily, they all liked it!

The “green” in Greenheart stuck with Xiaofei and she talked about noticing the difference between Wisconsin’s blue sky and her home city’s grey, smoggy sky. After realizing how much pollution there is in Jinan, she vowed never to take a taxi there, only public transportation, hoping to limit her contribution to the pollution as much as possible.

When she returns in July, Xiafei looks forward to visiting Door County, Wisconsin with her host family. She’ll live with the same host family as last year, because, as she says, “they’re the best!” She hopes to improve her English even more and to find more opportunities for volunteering. When asked if she thinks a year in the U.S. will affect others the same way it affected her, she said:

It will change you a lot… make you stronger… you will experience totally new things there!