Getting to know International Students

December 1, 2016 — by Navin Tiwary and Alex Yang

Q&A that talks about International Students and their experiences. 

Charlotte Henry: Senior Charlotte Henry moved from an international school in Hong Kong to SHS about five years ago, due to her father’s work. She enjoys horseback riding and has been doing it competitively for almost ten years.


Khalil Song: Class of 2015 Alumni Khalil Song moved from China in 2013 because his father wanted a better education for him. In his free time he enjoys cooking and playing ping pong.


Julie Cai: Senior Julie Cai was born in Saratoga but then moved to China and then moved back. She enjoys theater. Cai moved to China 2006 and moved back to America in July of 2014.


Charlotte Henry:


Q: What are some differences between your previous  international school and SHS?


A: The classes were a lot longer [at my previous school], which followed the French system. I took a lot more classes when I was younger, such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics in eighth grade. My school didn’t follow a block schedule, so you did everything, every day.


Q: What are some differences between the international school and the other schools in the area?


A: In Hong Kong, all the native students spoke Chinese; they learned everything in Chinese. Once you got into a certain grade, the school would separate you into different classes, and that class was what you would do until you got into college. Students at my school took way more languages than everyone else. We learned in English and we got to pick our classes. We did international baccalaureate, which is what you do [in the international school] to get into college. You do IGCSE and GCSE instead of the SAT and the ACT.


Q: How are the classes different from here at SHS?


A: Here at SHS, we do algebra then geometry and so forth, while at my international school we did just general math. So we did a bit of each topic every single year. It wasn’t as in depth, it was more general and you got deeper as you progressed further on.


Q: What was the culture like at the school?


A: We had a lot of different celebrations all year round, because people were from [all across the globe]. People moved from France, England, America, Japan, Mainland China and just lots of different places. It was very diverse.


Q: Was your school academically focused?

A: It was very academically focused. It was not as focused on sports, at all.


Q: What is it like to make new friends?


A: I’ve been to many different schools especially in England and Hong Kong. I have gotten used to it now, I don’t find it too difficult anymore. I just accept it as what it is.


Khalil Song:


Q: How did you feel when you had to move to SHS?


A: It’s really tough because English is not my first language, so I had to learn it and all the culture.


Q: What do you like better here at SHS than in China?


A: People here are kinder and the teachers are warm-hearted and helpful to the students.


Julie Cai:


Q: In what ways is Saratoga High School better than Shanghai?


A: Saratoga is very nice. The first thing I noticed about Saratoga was that it was the embodiment of "nice." The skies are blue, the trees are green, and a lot of elderly white people live here.


Q: Do you have any hobbies or passions you would like to share?


A: My passion is theater. I think it's an art form that is very under appreciated and a misconception is that it's pointless but studying theatre really makes you a more well-rounded person. It teaches you important lessons such as how to work and communicate better with other people, and skills like these will assist you in anything you choose to do in life.

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