Crystal Fung of Hong Kong knows that she needs to improve her English speaking skills in order to find her place in the global culture. That—along with an interest in American culture—is what pushed her to become an exchange student.
Crystal is hoping to find a place in a Morenci home while she attends school here, but so far she's still living nearby with the exchange program representative while enrolled at Morenci Area High School.
It didn't take long to see differences in the American education system compared to Hong Kong. For one thing, a classroom doesn't belong to the teacher in her school. The students stay in the same room all day and it's the teachers that move from one to another.
Hong Kong students aren't stuck in their seats all day, however. After two blocks of classes, students take a 20-minute break. After another two classes, there's an hour lunch period. Crystal and her friends generally eat at nearby shopping mall. Hong Kong isn't a country; it's a city of about 7 million people so it's not unusual for a mall to be close by.
With the 20-minute recesses and the long lunch period, she says it's a lot easier to make friends and get to know a lot of students, even in a big school.
Crystal said that school is going well for her here other than the language challenge, and that makes English class the toughest.
The American diet is a lot different from what she's accustomed to, but she's quite familiar with Western food. Hong Kong is an international financial center and there are cultural influences from many countries.
She's living in a rural location now which means traveling everywhere by car. She's accustomed to getting around on her own by bus, ferry and the subway.
She has two brothers back in Hong Kong. Her mother works at home and her father is a manager at an ink company.
When she returns home next year, Crystal will have one more year of high school before attending college. She's considering a career in graphic art and design.
Before returning, she hopes to take a trip to New York City with other students in the exchange program. Also, a friend in California wants her to visit.
There's a big change coming soon when winter weather moves in.
"I've never seen snow," she said.