New Oasis Presents at 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference

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New Oasis Presents at 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference


Over May 24-29, in Boston, Massachusetts, global education professionals from around the world gathered for the 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo.

One of those professionals was Jennifer Morrissey, Senior Education Specialist at New Oasis International Education. Morrissey joined Christine A. Farrugia of the Institute of International Education, Ann Corriveau of Boston University and Eddie West of the National Association for College Admission Counseling to present “Recruiting International Students Enrolled in U.S. High Schools,” on May 28.

The presentation, geared toward college admissions professionals, addressed issues F1 high school graduates face when applying to higher education institutions. When applying to college, students are typically grouped into two categories, international students, and non-international students.

F1 international students graduating from U.S. high schools have historically been grouped into the same category as direct applicants from abroad.

“We have to create an initiative to educate colleges and universities about this new group of students that is often left out of the international education discussion,” Morrissey said.

“These students have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with American students, taken the SAT, PSAT and ACT with American students, studied an American curriculum, and when they apply, they are grouped together in the same category as other international students who may have never studied in America.”

This year’s conference theme “New Horizons in International Education,” focused specifically on the issues international educators are often plagued with while preparing international students to become active global citizens.

Morrissey said the NAFSA conference was originally founded as a platform for international education conversations specifically related to higher education, but she predicts secondary-education will be given a heavier emphasis in years to come.

“It was so inspiring to see these secondary-school issues being addressed at the NAFSA conference.”

“We noticed a strong desire to continue these types of conversations and moving forward, I think we’ll see more secondary-school issues addressed by NAFSA.”

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Featured Student: Yula Zixin Ye, Rising Senior, Peninsula Catholic High School

image1 (1)Yula Ye arrived in the United States in 2013 as a sophomore exchange student in a new school, in a new country. But when she first arrived at Peninsula Catholic High School in Newport News, Virginia, she quickly realized she felt right at home.

Several short years later, Yula is heading into her final year as a Peninsula Catholic student. During her time at the school, she has achieved success in school, and at home.

“Peninsula Catholic is a small school with close relationships,” Ye said. “We all know each other well, and we make a lot of friends.”

At school, Yula earned Honors in Art 3, Achievement in Art 2, Achievement in Honors English 11, and was selected to the Mu Alpha Theta National High School and Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society.

An accomplished artist, Yula hopes to be an interior designer after college. She has been heavily involved with her school’s Art Club for all three of her years in the school, so much so, that she will be taking over as president next year. In the Art Club, Yula and her fellow students participate in contests, where they have received numerous awards.

In addition to her school’s Art Club, Yula applied for and will attend Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Art Program in the summer of 2015, a program which promotes cross-disciplinary approaches to creative activity; and imparts practical knowledge and skills to prepare performing artists for college auditions and visual artists for the creation of their application portfolios. [VCU Arts]

Since art is such a big part of Yula’s life, she found a way to give back to her host family using her artistic talent. The night before Mother’s Day in 2015, Yula a waited anxiously for her host mom to go to sleep. Once her mother was sleeping, she was up. She had a long night ahead of her. IMG_1006

While the host mom slept, Yula and Nancy worked through the night to decorate the host family’s kitchen with balloons and artwork with Mother’s Day messages on them. The mother awoke to quite a surprise, declaring how much she loved it!

Yula’s interest in art can be accredited largely in part to her art teacher, Ms. Kovalcik, who has helped her throughout her time at the high school. In 2016, Yula will serve as her teaching assistant.

Having made connections with many other teachers, Yula said her Honors English 11 teacher, Ms. O’Brien is also always willing to help her, is very friendly and has a wonderful personality.

Entering her senior year, Yula will be working with Lizzie Lixin Liu, her academic adviser at New Oasis, to prepare for the TOEFL and SAT tests.

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A student by day, a dolphin by night: Featured student, Bob Xia

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Bob Haoqi Xia, a junior at Cape Henry Collegiate, is a student by day and a dolphin by night.

Yes, you read that correctly. In addition to juggling the life of a high school junior, Xia serves as Cape Henry Collegiate’s mascot, a dolphin.

So how does one end up as an undercover dolphin? Xia was approached by the head of admissions at the school because he got along well with the younger students at the school. See, Xia spent some of his first year at the school teaching students in the lower school about Asian culture.

“When I first got here, I tried a lot of new things. Being brave and being willing to try new things (played a big role in my success in America).” Xia said.

Studying in the U.S. is not an easy task. Every student will inevitably face challenges. Using his resources at his New Oasis partner school, the homestay team and the academic team, Xia was able to overcome these issues.

“My first history class was U.S. history. I joined the class halfway through, and just couldn’t keep the pace of the teacher. I went to the teacher and told him, and he helped me a lot. I ended up getting an A+ in the class,” Xia said.

“New Oasis has been great. The first day I arrived, I remember (my student coordinator) picked me up at the airport at almost midnight. She has supported me for a long time. (My academic adviser) always calls and asks me academic things, and tutored me for the TOEFL.”

When Xia arrived in the United States as a sophomore in 2014, one New Oasis event served as the highlight of his year.

“A year ago, we went to New Oasis headquarters and had dinner with Mr. Sean (Chen), the president, at his house with his family. That was pretty cool.”

Xia recently attended an award ceremony, in which he thought he was only going to be a spectator. As the awards were given out, one award-winner’s description caught Xia’s attention. The award was a William and Mary Leadership Award, an awarded granted to individuals whose high schools identify as a change-maker, a shaker-upper, a critical and creative thinker who bring people together.

“I didn’t know I was getting the award. I thought all of the awards being given were for the American kids.” Xia said. “I thought if I were getting some sort of award I would have known about it. When the speaker began describing the winner, I thought ‘is that me?’ When she called my name, I almost froze.”

Living with the same host family during his stay in America, Xia said he really appreciates his family.

“My host family is great. They’ve been really helpful. I learned a lot about American culture.”

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