Hello everybody! I am Xiaoou Chen, and I am from Anhui, China. My English name is Owen, which is thought to match with the last syllable of my Chinese name and make it easy for people to remember. I am really glad to have the opportunity to start with my first blog post today. Currently, I am a junior (11th grade) at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, a harmonious community, in North Carolina, which is actually the state where Wright Brother’s first plane in the world took off.
I have a great variety of interests; basketball, music, and art are important components of my life; of course study has always taken a priority, as it is necessary to prepare for my promising future. Regarding my favorite subject at school, math will always be on the top of my list, because not only do I have a great passion in this field, but I also have a great mentor, Mr. Kist who has a MBA degree from Chicago University.
To be frank, I have been asked by so many people, Americans and even Chinese, so many times about the reason why I came to America instead of staying in China. The answer like what most people might think has almost become a fixed formula – that I want to receive the most advanced education of the world, enjoy the freedom, and gain a competitive edge in the future. Seldom do I change the response; however, with the time I spent here in America, gradually I realize the reasons behind those “seeming” compliments.
One thing we should remember all the time wherever we go, never could your hard work do harm to you, because that is your root, that is all you can do to get accustomed to a brand new culture all by yourself. Let me put in this way, the American education system pays a great attention to the consistency and persistency of a student’s hard work. Many people have a blind spot that they think American school is way easier than that of China, which, they think, means people do not have to try to work as hard as they need in China; on the contrary, if a student anchoring his objectives, who wants to be distinguished, has to contribute even more efforts to achieve his success.
In school, all your performances-participation, homework, quiz, test, exam, and community service-will seriously take into account, and they are also going to be directly reflected in terms of number, your grades. Different teachers may have different standards, but always reflecting your abilities and academic skill in the form of score averaged from your overall performance within classes, and a straight “A” student is usually not as easy as you thought to be, confronting various tasks, preparing for high frequent quizzes and tests, which are much more frequent than those in China, and coping with culturally based disadvantage of study, such as Theology.
At this point you might get a vague picture of American education system, which shows the main merits of their education system. I am sure some of you may be surprised, and the big picture you thought before might have a great contradiction from what I described previously.
This is only one aspect of American high school student’s life. I am just trying to be unbiased and be honest with you about what I have learned and realized, and what you might be most concerned about.
Besides school, which might be tough for you, there are still numbers of interesting elements within the life as an international student here. Hosts of new cultural experiences are waiting for you to explore.
I will bring more information about my life in U.S. in the following posts, and I am more than willing to hear from you about what you guys prefer to learn about. I will pay my most effort to share my real experience with you.
Please feel free to leave a comment to me in the comments section, and I will try my best to respond.
New Oasis and NRCA student Vivian Li arrived in August to the New Oasis program as a quiet, yet ambitious student. Entering her junior year, Vivian knew that she had a lot of work ahead of her: immersing herself into a new culture, attending a new school, meeting new friends and setting goals for herself to gain college acceptance from top-tier competitive universities in the U.S. While many Chinese students decide to study abroad in the U.S. as early as the 9th grade and have four full years to reach all of their goals, Vivian knew that she would have to start making an impact immediately.
Since arriving here, Vivian enrolled in the maximum amount of AP courses that she was entitled as a new upperclassman, including AP Calculus. Her first quarter grades were very impressive, as she earned A’s in every class. Her first semester GPA was 4.5 – the highest GPA possible at NRCA.
Knowing Vivian’s goal of attending a top-tier university after graduation, New Oasis Academic Coordinator Joy Mathes advised Vivian to also focus on social goals, as the college admissions process for most competitive schools stresses extracurricular activities and volunteerism. Vivian joined and became a member in four different clubs at NRCA including the Pep Club, Chemistry Club, Math and Physics Club and Ducks Unlimited (a wetlands and conversation of wildlife club). Additionally, Vivian won the role of Vice President in the Math and Physics Club.
Those around her say she is a true joy to be around, as she has made new friends at NRCA – both Chinese and non-Chinese and actively participates in every day life with her host family. Says Mathes, “Vivian is a beautiful, talented and very grateful human being. Right before Christmas, she asked me if I could accompany her around the school to hand out handmade gifts to school administrators and her teachers to thank them for all of their help and support. Since arriving to NRCA, she has gotten her feet right on the ground running and hasn’t stopped. I am truly proud of her accomplishments.”
“Many students may be misunderstood about studying in US, like thinking it’s much easier than other countries or feeling too stressful they can not involve into the school life. Giving my opinion, both of these thoughts are not correct.
First of all, American study is not easy. As long as it’s not our first language, it should be hard for most of the students to understand everything in class. My recommendation is to read everything you need in your textbooks and always ask help when you need. My dear host mom always says if we’re helpless or feel confused, the only thing we can do is ask:) That’s so true. Don’t be worried, just do your part and try your best, self-studying is extremely important in US.
Next, don’t feel anxious about the social life. American students are extremely nice! There is always someone willing to help you on whatever you need. My advice is don’t be shy. Never mind how good or bad your speaking is, talk to them! Making lots of American friends is the coolest thing you can do there.
Last but not least, trust me, all the teachers I met here are REALLY caring about their students. Just use my school as an example, since it’s a Christian school, I feel safe to say all the teachers I have have their graceful love on all students. They’re kind to give you any help on study anytime, so whenever you need, ask them. Don’t be afraid and don’t be nervous, be sincere and respect to them, they will be your friends.”
On Friday, January 31st the Lunar New Year will begin and will last for 15 days. In China, the festivities known as the Spring Festival and the new year is determined by the lunar calendar. Other countries who celebrate the Lunar New Year include Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Tibet and Mongolia, as well as several other countries who celebrate the holiday on other days. In China, the Spring Festival remains the most important social holiday. The Chinese will exchange red packets of money and dragon dances will go on through the streets as people around the world will usher in the Year of the Horse. In the Chinese culture, the spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.
New Oasis International Education is excited to celebrate the festivities with its students this year. This year, students were instrumental in planning the festivities with their New Oasis Homestay 360 Coordinators. Students from several schools will celebrate with a delicious dinner at gourmet traditional Chinese restaurants. Other celebrations include a gourmet catered lunch at school, decorating Chinese lanterns and bowling.
We wish you a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!