Our winter season in America is vacation season in most of Asia due to the Lunar Calendar Celebrations of the Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year. The Timothy International Program (TIP) has tailored a winter camp for Asian students which takes place each year during their time off from school. The camp runs for two to three weeks during which time students experience what it is like to live in a home with an American host family while attending Timothy Christian School.
“I am very happy because the students and teachers are very kind,” says high school student David Liu. “Also, the culture is different and it’s good for me to learn a different culture and language.”
International students from elementary to high school grades participate and observe classes and activities alongside our TCS students. Younger children attend fun after school activities led by TCS teachers such as robotics, art, American etiquette, culture, and games. For many winter camp students, it is also the first time they visit an American Christian church and youth group.
The TIP winter camp not only benefits students, but also their parents. Winter camp parents have expressed that through their children they are learning about American culture and education.
“They are having a really great time. The students here are really helpful and friendly,” says Amy Tong. “I noticed that my girls are praying in English more. They like the program so much, they want to invite all of their friends back in China to join them next year.”
“Parents found a big difference between the Chinese and American schools. I noticed that there is much more love and care at Timothy,” explains Mr. Wang, this year’s Chinese Winter Camp Parent Coordinator.
Chinese parents send their children to the TCS Winter Camp for a quality education and the TCS values. Our Winter Camp experience does not exist in China. During winter vacation in China, most children spend hours just doing homework or getting tutoring with limited room for creativity, games, and sports. According to Mr. Wang, in China during the winter vacation children are sent to tutoring centers due to social pressure to do well in school. Unfortunately, parents feel stressed and the children don’t enjoy their vacation and seem to be missing out on their childhood. Mr. Wang stated that Chinese parents know the importance of a quality education. Sending their children to the TIP Winter Camp, parents feel relaxed because their children still get to learn, but in a fun, carrying, and relaxed environment.
Timothy students also learn something from the experience.
“Our TCS students benefit from the winter camp students because they get to know people from other parts of the world and see how other cultures value education,” says TCS guidance counselor, Christina Niedzielski. “At TCS, winter camp students and their families become part of our family as we strive to provide a home away from home.”
Welcoming the winter camp students and parents benefit all. Winter Camp provides our TCS community the opportunity to be a light to others and to love our neighbors, no matter how far they have traveled.