In recent years, studying abroad has become a new craze among Chinese students. More and more students came to the United States, the so-called “Land of Opportunity,” at an early age, looking for a better future.
Today, The Gregory School has twelve Chinese students in total. They have adapted to their new life in the United States in different ways.
Chinese students consistently choose to study in the United States to get a better education.
Though most kids in China start to learn English as early as elementary school or even kindergarten, learning the English language remains the biggest challenge for Chinese students studying in the United States.
History is undoubtedly the most difficult and challenging subject for Chinese students, since it requires not only excellent reading and writing skills, but also an insightful understanding of Western culture, thought, and even religion.
However, our students perform very well in both the arts and the sciences if they are willing to make an effort and put in the work.
Though the classes themselves may sometimes be difficult, the Chinese students like the Gregory School’s schedule and curriculum a lot.
Freshman Grace Zhang expressed excitement about the learning environment here. “You can choose your own courses and have a lot of free time,” Zhang said. In comparison, students in a Chinese high school usually have a tight 8 AM to 5 PM schedule and each period has certain instruction, from morning exercise to self-study. Also, courses in Chinese high schools each year are fixed and prearranged by the Board of Education.
One thing in particular that every Chinese student falls in love with at American school is the abundance of extracurricular activities. Freshman Sarah Wang said, “I feel so happy about the different activities the school provides, such as the art festival and Friday Rotations.”
Taking advantage of the rich opportunities The Gregory School offers, Chinese students actively involve themselves in various clubs and activities. They are busy in Math Club, Science Olympiad, Roots & Shoots, Mock Trial, as well as in theater and musical productions.
Despite feeling comfortable and content with their academics, the Chinese students still face difficulties in adapting to American society. Leaving their family and friends to come to a strange country alone, many Chinese students suffer from homesickness.
Some of them secretly shed tears at night, but they say it is their new friends that give them support. All of the exchange students confessed that their classmates at The Gregory School are all very nice and are willing to make friends with them.
In addition, as Junior Charles Chen pointed out, students from different grades can become very good friends here, whereas in China huge distinctions are made between lowerclassmen and upperclassmen. Therefore, he said he was grateful that his senior friends passed on valuable experiences and wise advice to him.
However, the culture shock sometimes does shock Chinese students. Coming from a foreign country, Chinese students try very hard to understand the new cultures, traditions and food.
Wang, who lives with a local American family said, “My host family introduces me to a lot of American culture and foods, so I don’t think culture shock is a big problem.” However, often times Chinese students understandably still retain their preference for Chinese traditions.
Chen also told us something interesting. “In China, making some noise when eating noodle soup is a praise for the delicacy of the food, but here it is a rude behavior.” Chen said. “Of course I won’t make any noise when eating spaghetti, but whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, I can eat as freely as I usually did!”
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