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What do you expect to see in a US High School

Submitted By: Frank Fan

I’m Frank, as a Chinese international student in the U.S, I feel a lot of difference between the system in China and America. I’m here to tell you about my stories and feelings about my experience of high school life in the U.S.

Let’s start with a story of my own experience. I grew up in the Chinese educational system until I finished middle school. Afterwards, I went to a high school in the U.S. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Freedom!” I think that’s what most international students think when they first come to the U.S. Compared to what we do in China, school in the U.S. is a lot easier. You get to choose your own courses. I get to manage my own life. But once I stepped into the gate of the school, everything changed. Once school began, all those complicated works, labs, and projects were driving me crazy! Why? The projects are not the same as those in the Chinese system. In the Chinese system, your work is just work, you just needed to finish them. But in the US, there are a lot of other kinds of work. Including many research, group work, reading, such stuff. They do not collect your homework the next day, they give you 2 or 3 days to finish the work, sometimes more than a month. Sometimes you need your whole school year to finish one huge project. Teachers don’t ask you for the homework. They expect you to be self-motivated to do it. Students need to have good self-control if they want to get good grades. After all those crazy works, I was totally crushed. My first semester GPA was the most evil thing, I didn’t want to ever see it again. Studying is an important issue, so don’t think it’s going to be easy. Prepare yourself with a different style of studying. Don’t let yourself lose control and have too much freedom. If your grades crash, probably, your mom will come and guard you, like mine.

Next, let’s talk about life after school. I am kind of a boring person. I’m also not good at any sports. So before I came to the US I usually stayed at home playing games, watching movies or some Korean TV show. But you should know that U.S. schools usually finish at 3 or 4 PM. During the after school time, I find that there are many things I can do. This spare time is for you to develop your interests. My school provides me with a lots of clubs and activities to do. For example, robotics club, for if you have the interest in robots; Disney club, if you like Disney movies; there is also a BBQ club, which members can sell their homemade BBQ. If there are not any clubs that fit your interests, you can call up some of your friends with the same interest and make a new club. Like me, one of my friends called me up to create a computer programming club. There are also many sport clubs afterschool. What’s more, during those times, you can have fun with your friends.

Overall, in U.S. high schools, students can get more opportunities to spread out your ideas, and develop your interests. That’s my thoughts about studying in the U.S.

About Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a senior at Monta Vista High School. He moved back to the States in 2012 after living in Beijing, China for two years, and currently lives in Cupertino, California. This cross-culture experience has enabled him to encounter a vast variety of environments in which part of his writings are based on. He is also currently an officer in HEARTS, a nonprofit organization, and a VP at Silicon Valley DECA. He also has a passion in web design, computer science, badminton, and writing.

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