Hi I’m Joey and I live in Highland Park which is a north suburb of Chicago. Currently, I am 16 but I turn 17 on the 28th which is the day we leave. I am a rising senior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, although I am not very observant. Chinese is not offered there, and we are mandated to take Hebrew as with other Jewish classes. Our Hebrew program is lacking to say the least, so actually learning a language is very exciting to me. Chinese was an obvious choice because my oldest brother Eddie who is 22 learned Chinese over his gap year in Shanghai. He also traveled to Kunming for his junior year abroad and is now working in Kunming. I visited Eddie during his gap year and I was captivated by how different China was from western culture, and I wanted to see more of the country. I have begun studying Chinese with a tutor 1-2 times a week and I would very much classify myself as a beginner. As well as learning more Chinese, I am looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone, especially in the village home stays and being outside and seeing some cool wilderness. Before this summer, I went to an overnight camp and I loved going on wilderness trips and I am very excited to continue this in China.
Outside of school, I like to cook, currently I am very interested in making pizza. Hopefully I can learn how to cook Chinese food from my host family. I also work for only about 2 hours at my temple a week being a helper for 3rd-5th graders at Hebrew school. Besides that, I am a part of some clubs in my school like film club and robotics club. I also do cross country and swim club. For college, I am interested in doing engineering, probably environmental or biomedical. I am very excited to meet all of you!