New students adjust to international changes

September 17, 2008 — by Sophia Cooper and Annie Lee

Switching schools means leaving behind best friends and hoping to find a place to fit in, a difficult task with the presence of high school cliques. Moving to a different country presents its own problems of language, culture and a general uncertainty of a new place.

Yet for senior Kaisa Yli-nokri and sophomore Charles Main, this initial dilemma of a new school and a new continent evaporated quickly with the help of their fluent English. Coming from Finland and China, respectively, both were welcomed into SHS life.

“Everything is huge. It’s just so amazing, and I’m so overwhelmed,” said Yli-nokri.

Yli-nokri moved from Pampere, Finland, because her father was transferred to California for work. Within the first few weeks of school, she has already met many new friends that have helped her adjust to the Saratoga Bubble.

“The people are so, so, so amazing and so friendly,” Yli-nokri. “It’s been exactly as I imagined it would be; I love it!”

In addition to the increase in the size of the school, one of the biggest changes for Yli-nokri has been the weather.

“The weather is amazing; it’s so warm,” said Yli-nokri, “But I miss the cold!”

Main has also found a sanctuary in the drama department. He has performed on stage since he was 2, when he joined a drama troupe started by his parents. Since then, he has acted in over 35 shows around the world.

Of these, his favorite has been Jew, which consisted of a large cast of teenagers and was based on normal teenage drama and dilemmas.

“It was really about everything that’s going on,” said Main, “so I think the audience really got a lot more out of it, especially high school kids.”

Most recently, Main was part of the drama department at the Shanghai American School, which he attended for the past two years. He moved to California when his dad’s electronics manufacturing company transferred him to the Silicon Valley.

“I didn’t really know what to expect [at SHS], I knew it was gonna be bigger because my last high school had about 200 kids,” said Main. “It seems like a fun place and I’m looking forward to being here.”

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