Chinese Exchange Students Learn American Football
Qixi "Jason" Huang is a 15 year old exchange student at Brookfield Academy and had never even held a football in his hands before joining the junior varsity team at the school. Matt Wasmer, Jason's host dad, "took his first look at the freshman 15-year-old — 6-foot-1-inch, 220 pounds — and suggested he try the sport." Jason is one of the school's first ever Chinese international student to play on the football team.
"There's a big learning curve," Wasmer said. "For him being his age and in a completely different culture and a completely different language that's not related to his own, I don't know how he does it. Sometimes I think this kid's head is spinning. [He] is an easygoing guy. On the outside at least, he seems to be taking this new country, culture and game in stride. Think how brave you'd have to be to move to China, speak only Chinese, and play some exotic new sport with a language all its own. And it's alongside kids who played the game from the time they could walk."
Kahle, Jason's football coach is impressed with the help Jason has received from his fellow teammates. He says "It's some of those beautiful things you learn in football, like teamwork and discipline and compassion and sacrifice, the big picture things we hope our kids walk away with."
Jason is from one of the largest cities in China, Guangzhou. Growing up in China, the sports he played were soccer, running, and swimming. Jason also studied English for eight years throughout school. He hopes to stay all four years of high school and maybe even stay in the U.S. to eventually attend an American university.
Brookfield Academy, an independent college preparatory school, located in the outskirts of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a host for international students, particularly Chinese students.
The International Student Program welcomes academic scholars with English reading, writing, and speaking skills. Selected students are required to live with an American host family. Brookfield Academy works with the host family to integrate the exchange student into the host family, as well as exposing the student to typical American outings and meals. The exchange student is given a hands on approach to American culture and traditions.