Cultural exchange: Chinese exchange student enjoys time in Alamance County

Cassie Berry, left, and Ruyang Shen ("Shawn") pose for a recent photo at Krispy Kreme in Burlington. / Mel Baerry, special to the Times-News

Commentary by Natalie Barry
Times-News correspondent

    Some students get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad before college. We were fortunate to get one of those foreign exchange students from China. His name is Ruyang Shen, but everybody calls him “Shawn” or “Shawn Shen.” When he first arrived in America, he didn’t really know English. We all downloaded translators on our phones and communicated through that the first few weeks. Now, he understands American movies and shows and can talk to his friends at school with little to no problem. He does have some grammar differences, but all in all he is a fast learner.
“America is very different from China. And the people are very kind and friendly. American food is very good,” Shawn said.
Shawn goes to school at Burlington Christian Academy (BCA).
“At first it was hard to understand, but the teachers were very patient and helped me with English,” he said.
Shawn likes air soft, video games, baseball and helping backstage on community shows. He is on the baseball team for BCA.
“I have never played baseball in China. They don’t have it there. I have learned a lot on the baseball team like teamwork,” he said.
Not only has it been a learning experience for him, but it has been a learning experience for our family, too. We have been introduced to some Chinese culture and traditions. He has taught us some of the Chinese language and has talked a lot about his family and friends from China. Hopefully Shawn is having as good as a time here as he says he is.

 Natalie Barry is a seventh-grader at The Hawbridge School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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