From China to Hudson: International Student Profile
Hudson Catholic has been welcoming many new faces this year. Students have transferred into our school from China, Germany, France, and Russia. It is exciting to know that students have come from far away just to get their education here.
As a first-generation Filipino American, I did not have to adjust to the ways of life here in America as my parents did. I cannot even imagine how difficult it must have been for them to have to struggle with the language barrier as well as missing friends and family back home. In my opinion, these students are quite brave to have taken the risk of moving into another country and going to school full time.
I sat down with Grace, George, and Larry, three transfer students from China. They came to Hudson last year. I already knew Grace through mutual friends. George was in my Mission class last semester, and I have only just met Larry.
I spoke first with Grace, who told me that she hails from Chongqing, a large city in southwest China. The city consists of tall, beautiful skyscrapers and busy streets. Grace went on to tell me about her school.
“The school starts in 7 in the morning and ends around 4:30,” Grace said.
I looked at her in shock, thinking to myself that I would die if I were to have to sit through a ten hour school day. She went on to explain that after school, Chongqing kids go home to study and do home work until 8 or 9 in the evening. Grace further elaborated what student life was like at her old school, explaining that kids are not allowed to have conversations in class and must stay silent throughout the entire day.
At that point, Larry chimed to say that he was surprised to hear kids talk back to teachers and speak so loudly in class when he came here. He jokingly added that if he were to talk in class back home, he would be expelled immediately. Now, I knew certain countries in Asia were very strict about education, but I never imagined how strict they could be. Grace read my reactions and facial expressions of shock and disbelief, and responded to them by explaining that because there are so many people in China (over 1.4 billion), competition for admittance to prestigious college is fierce.
They went on to tell a bit more about themselves. Grace’s favorite subject is biology, and she likes to play badminton, read, and watch Korean soap operas in her spare time. Larry likes to draw and play badminton as well. George enjoys reading, watching movies, and playing badminton during his leisure time. George and Larry commented on how they miss their friends back home and try to keep in touch with them.
George is from Shanghai, which he described as a huge, expensive city. According to George, people save up money their entire life just to live in Shanghai. A two-bedroom apartment there is about 20,000 Chinese yuan a month, which equals $3,200 a month in U.S. dollars, not including utilities or other expensive.
George wants to become a business man, hoping to go to Columbia University after graduation, though he very humbly said he does not think he will get in.
Larry is from Zhe Jaing, a small city in the eastern province of China. The town has both urban and rural aspects. Larry likes it here at Hudson so far and is happy with the new friends he has made. I asked about his old friends and he told me that they used to joke around and cause some trouble. Even though Larry has a pretty thick accent, I can still catch his unexpected, sarcastic humor. He kept joking around but I continued with my questions. I asked him about his plans for the future, and Larry said he isn’t quite sure if he is going to attend college here in America, explaining that if he cannot make it into a good college here, he might return to China.
When asked whether education in China is more difficult than in the U.S., Larry said that the education in both China and here at Hudson are good. Grace and George both agree that while mathematics is definitely the easiest subject for them, some topics can be difficult to understand due to the language barrier. Grace jokingly told me that her English sucks, and both George and Larry nodded in agreement. I laughed and told them that they speak great English.
Grace, George, and Larry definitely have bright futures ahead of them. They are all extremely bright, especially in Algebra. I asked them if they have any advice for me should I ever decide to move to a foreign country. Larry told me that it takes time to adjust, but if I am friendly to other people, I will be fine. I concluded my interview and thanked them sincerely for their time.
Later that day, I replayed the interview in my head and laughed a little, realizing they are just kids, funny and shy, like me.