CAFAM Newsletter—June 2015


News & Updates

  • Short-Term Host Families Needed
  • Summer Host Family Opportunity
  • Updates on Local Ties to China: Fox Intercultural Consulting
  • Request for Donations: Trip to Chinese Orphanages
  • Reminder: CAFAM Membership Renewal Time

Upcoming Events

  • CAFAM Summer Potluck

Recent Events

  • Ya Ji: “Language & Identity”

Profile: Lilly (Yu Li) Huang

  • Chinese Language Lessons at Auburn Public Library

Travel Journal

  • Learning Chinese in Taipei: Report by Connie Zhu

About This Newsletter: This e-newsletter is provided to CAFAM members and is edited by Cindy Han, with technical support from Jay Collier. 


Short-Term Host Families Needed Soon

Fox Intercultural Consulting has a group of high school students from Hangzhou coming to Maine this ChineseHSstudentsummer as part of our New England Sister School Initiative.  They will be participating in Maine College of Art‘s pre-college program and living in the dorms with American high school students.  As part of the program however the group really wants to have an “American Home” experience and we are  hoping that you may be able to host two students for one night.  Here are the details:
July 24:  Arrive- Friday afternoon (between 5:00-7:00) at Waynflete school parking lot
Pick up by American host family-  dinner with families
July 25:   Depart-  Drive host students to MECA at 8:30 am to begin program

Please respond by June 30th if you can help out.  Also, if you know of someone who might be interested please feel free to forward this information along and to have them get in touch with Megan Theberge, Director of Short Term Programs at

Summer Host Family Opportunity

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is hosting an English Language and American Culture Program for international high school students in Portland this summer. This three-Chinese HostFamilyweek program from July 18-August 8 includes English language and American culture classes, local excursions and activities around Maine, and a trip to Boston to visit historical sites. If you would like to learn more about the high school abroad opportunities CIEE offers, please visit

CIEE is seeking local families to host a short-term exchange student. Students will be coming to the program from China, India, South Korea and Afghanistan. Responsibilities of the host family will include providing breakfast and dinner, transportation to and from classes at Cheverus High School in Portland, willingness to assist with homework and enhance language learning, and eagerness to welcome the student into their family. A small stipend will be provided to help offset costs.

Please respond by email to or phone at 207-553-4121.

Request for Donations: Trip to Chinese Orphanages

The following was posted recently on CAFAM’s Facebook page by Deb Kepler (of Brunswick):

Dear family and friends,

I’m so happy to announce that I will be taking University of Southern Maine students again to China as part of a service learning course where we will be volunteering in 2 orphanages in China. We have 10 college students, 2 guidance counselors, getting graduate credits, 2 faculty members (one of them is me) and my two girls.

(See a video of our last two USM trips at: )

So we need money! The money will go directly to the orphanages in the form of donations that we will bring from the U.S. that are difficult to get in China; it will go toward things that we can buy in China that they may need and cash for medical care for the children and to help the foster families with the cost of taking care of a child. Remember that in China $5 can buy 5 pairs of kids shoes.NewDayfosterhome

We will be working at New Day foster home about one hour south of Beijing. We are also visiting a new program in Dahua, Guangxi province (where Tea is from) which is a very rural boarding school (not the fancy U.S. kind of boarding school) for orphans and the very poor which is being helped by Grace and Hope for Children. You can visit their blog at : or visit the Dahua blog at .

Dahua is looking for laptop computers, used working ones are fine; 12 staff are sharing 2 computers. And of course money is always useful especially for New Day as a big part of their program is getting medical care for orphans that are in state-run institutions that would not be able to get them the medical care that they desperately need. You can see a list of needed supplies for New Day at .

So if you love me, or even if you don’t love me but you love kids, send money and/or donations. We have a website for donation at

If all else fails, pray for us that we may make a difference in a kids life.

Love to all,


Updates on Local Ties to China: Fox Intercultural Consulting

Launching a New England-Sichuan Centersichuan

Fox Intercultural Consulting is launching new networks in Sichuan Province, in China’s southwest. This June, president Suzanne Fox is heading to Sichuan for a tour of speaking events. Fox has been building networks and community throughout Sichuan over the past two years, and this summer is launching a tour of talks about the benefits of studying in New England. If you have family or friends in Sichuan, get in touch with Suzanne to learn more about her schedule there.

Summer ProgramsSearsportMaineOcean

Fox Intercultural Consulting is also preparing for a very exciting summer in New England as they welcome more than 100 students from China to visit their sister schools and engage in meaningful exchange. One of the schools, Honghua School, is visiting Searsport, Maine, for a two-week “The Sea and Me” program, where students will have a chance to spend a week in intensive ocean studies followed by a week of travel across the United States.

Reminder: CAFAM Membership Renewal Time

Have you renewed your CAFAM membership this year? If not, please do so now!

Chinese-THANK-YOU-MWe’ve made it easy with our new online renewal system. Just click RENEW CAFAM MEMBERSHIP to pay your dues electronically, using PayPal. From now on, we are simplifying the membership renewals so that September is always the start and end of an annual membership. That’s why you should act now and renew your CAFAM membership today!

For more specific information about membership and dues, click MEMBERSHIP INFO. Anyone who is interested in supporting our organization’s efforts to promote and support Chinese culture and language in Maine is welcome to click DONATE TO CAFAM. We thank you for any amount of support!

If you prefer not to renew online, please mail your payment to the address below. Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine P.O. Box 10372, Portland, ME 04101


CAFAM’s Summer Potluck in the ParkkiteWinslow-Park-Freeport-Maine-Beach-sm 2

Come to spend time together and explore the beach, trails and a playground. We’ll have a picnic under the shelter, and we encourage you to bring kites (a favorite Chinese pastime), Frisbees, and other activities to make the most of our time in the park.


Ya Ji: “Language and Identity”

(L-R) Ni Rong, Lady Zen, Frank O Smith
Ya Ji presenters Ni Rong, Lady Zen, and Frank O Smith

This ongoing cultural salon, hosted by Fox Intercultural Consulting, featured artists Ni Rong (photographer, Rockland); Frank O Smith (writer, Portland); and Lady Zen (hip hop, Portland). Some 50 people attended the event, held on May 12th at the Maine College of Art, and learned about the speakers’ fascinating and personal stories about their individual, creative paths between East and West.


Lilly (Yu Li) Huang: Teaching Chinese

Lilly Huang teaches Chinese food words at Auburn Public Library

Lilly Huang has been introducing the Chinese language one word at a time to interested children and adults at the Auburn Public Library through a new Chinese Story Time program that began earlier this year. “It’s an experiment right now,” she explains. The library began hosting the program in April, and there has been a spark of interest, with a handful of children and adults attending each time. “Mostly I just teach them simple things, like numbers and food names (apple is “ping guo”). “I can’t tell them stories in Chinese yet, so I’m just focusing on language.”

Lilly has taken many steps in her journey to Maine. Born in Vietnam to a Chinese father and Vietnamese mother, she moved to China’s southeastern city of Xiamen when she was five years old and grew up there.

At the age of 23, Lilly came to America to meet and marry her future husband, Cam Luu, who is also of mixed Vietnamese-Chinese heritage. He worked with her cousin at Chopsticks restaurant in Lewiston, where he was known as a hard worker.

Mai Luu comes with her mom to the library to learn Chinese.
Mai Luu comes with her mom to the library to learn Chinese.

“At first I was homesick a lot,” recalls Lilly. “The weather, the language, the food – everything was different.”

But now, after more than 16 years of working in the restaurant industry, she is comfortable speaking English (in addition to Mandarin and Cantonese) and is raising two daughters here—Katie, 15, and Mai, 11. She and her husband now own Wei-Li restaurant in Auburn, serving healthful Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

Part of her incentive to teach at the library was to find a way to teach her own children more Chinese. The girls come with her and learn along with the others. “At least I can spend quality time with my daughters,” she says.

For anyone interested in attending the weekly half-hour Chinese lessons, the language program is taking a summer hiatus, and Lilly hopes to start it up again in September.


Learning Chinese in Taipeib91a00_p_01_02

A Report from Connie Zhu

Key Word:

語  言   教   學   班

Yǔ yán jiāo xué bān

Language Instruction Class

A pleasant surprise awaited us when we arrived in Taipei last August: 語言教學班, or 語教班 (yǔjiāobān) in short. It is designed for children raised in foreign countries who come to Taiwan to attend local schools but need help with their Chinese (國語, guóyǔ). To my knowledge , two schools in Taipei (台北, Táiběi) host such a program and one of them is a ten-minute walk from our apartment.

This school is called 新生國小 (Xīnshēng Guóxiǎo, Xinsheng Public Elementary School). First enrolling students in 2000, it is a relatively new school with an open-space classroom building, an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, auditorium, and outdoor track and field. The teaching style is a little less stringent than that of a typical Taipei school, which is a welcome relief to children like ours, who are not used to doing a lot of homework (功課, gōngkè) or taking frequent tests (考試, kǎoshì). Though there are ten-minute breaks between classes, our kids still miss their 30-45-minute recess time back in America and have hardly slept during their daily 30-minute nap time—which is nevertheless necessary for Taiwan students because they take various after-school classes called 補習班 (bǔxíbān), some academically enhancing, some in music and arts, and go to bed very late.

There are over 60 “Language Students” (語教生,yǔjiāoshēng) enrolled in 新生國小, which allows up to 120 as part of their 1,200 student body. 語教生 go to all of the regular classes like local students; e.g. our daugther joins a class in the 4th grade while our son joins a class in the 2nd grade. But they go to an additional supplementary Chinese class (語教班) every day to help them catch up. Foreign students are all tested verbally and orally before they are assigned to a 語教班 of their level. These classes are quite small and tailored to help students of every level. Students usually give up a regular class to attend 語教班, and as their language skills improve, usually in the second semester, they have the choice to attend 語教班 less and spend more time with their regular class.

In a nutshell, our children have the opportunity to experience full language immersion with additional langauge support, which has worked like a charm. Kids learn so much faster from their peers during class time and play time. Since they are scattered among local kids, foreign students have much less chance to speak English or other languages within their circles. It is wonderful to see our children not only learning the beautiful Chinse language (中文, zhōngwén), but also making Chinese friends (朋友, péngyǒu)!

You may click on the photo page below for a larger view.

Conniephoto page






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