A Whole New World: From China to the US

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Freshman Yifan Lu and sophomore Ziqi Zhang are joining the Trinity family as part of the New Oasis International Education program. The New Oasis program helps students from around the world attend private day schools in the U.S. This year, Trinity is hosting Lu and Zhang in addition to the ASSIST student. 

Yifan (aka Kris)

Seventy-two percent of American students stay in state for college but one new exchange student has already traveled more than 8,000 miles just to attend high school. Freshman Yifan Lu moved to Florida from China just this year. She said that some people in China believe that only bad students with rich parents study abroad, but she made the decision for other reasons.

“I think the education is most different, and that’s why I came here,” Lu said. “All the teachers are so nice. If you have questions you can find them in the study period. And it’s not only like there is a book and this is something very important, you need to remember that. They give me more chance to search on the internet [and] do everything by myself.”

Lu is welcoming other differences that come with living in the US as well. She has gotten involved in extracurriculars such as the Forensics club and enjoys Personal Fitness class.

“To be honest, we don’t have after school activities in China,” Lu said. “I am interested in lots of things, but I don’t have the chance to do that [there].”

Beyond the technical difficulties of applying for an American visa, Lu also has to adjust to the culture in the U.S. For example, Lu’s given first name is Yifan while her English name (and the one she uses at Trinity) is Kris.

“My Chinese name is more like a boy’s name, and that is great because I think it’s not very difficult for … foreigners to pronounce,” Lu said. “And also someone tell me that ‘Kris’ is maybe more like a boy’s name, and I say ‘yes that’s fine, maybe that’s what I want.’” 

Lu plans to graduate from Trinity, so she still has plenty of time to (maybe) develop a taste for American cuisine and discover everything the U.S. has to offer.

Ziqi (aka Helen)

“Authentic cuisine!” reads the sign under the local Panda Express. In the red booth closest to the window, a high school girl eyes her chicken lo mein skeptically.

The start of this school year marks sophomore Ziqi Zhang’s second year in the U.S. She moved to Florida from Ohio, where she attended high school last year. Before that, she lived in China.

“The people [at Trinity] are nice,” Zhang said. “And … my last school [in Ohio], they just had 15 AP courses but I know here there’s more than 30.”

Here at Trinity, Zhang has already joined Science Olympiad and is excited to join the tennis team. But she misses her family and Chinese food.

“The food is completely different,” Zhang said. “I tried [Chinese food here]. It’s not the … food [in China] but it’s good.”

Zhang has had to adapt to a new country and a change in school in just two years. Yet she said the transition hasn’t been very difficult for her.

“I think it’s easy …  [for] me because I went to … boarding school since I was six years old,” Zhang said. “And I also [have] change[d] schools several times so I think I have a really good adaptation ability. I don’t think [this is] the hard part for me because it feels natural.”

Zhang attended an international boarding school in Beijing from the ages of six to 14 where the classes were taught in English. She was given her English name, Helen, by her kindergarten teacher.

“When I was young, I [felt] like I hate[d] my parents … [for sending] … me to the boarding school but now I just really appreciate that experience,” Zhang said. “It made me more independent so I’m really grateful.”

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