An International Student’s Perspective

By Boya Yang

Yang is a junior at The Maine Girls’ Academy (formerly Catherine McAuley High School.) This article is part of a program at the school which connects students with mentors in the community. Yang, who is interested in communication, chose to partner with the Deering Squirrel.

As a Chinese student, a common question for me is, Do you have General Tso’s Chicken in China? No, we don’t have that in China. Then, What about Mongolian Beef ? No, we don’t have that either; that’s an American Chinese food. You guys must have fortune cookies right? Actually, they are offered in American-Chinese restaurants. The next question they will ask is which school I go to, and I say, The Maine Girls’ Academy (MGA) Then, there is one question they will absolutely ask me, which is: Why would I decide to go to America to be an exchange student?

Well, there are a number reasons why I decided to come to America.

China has the largest population of the world. There are 1.3 billion people in China. In 2014, there were 246,810,000 college students. All of these students need to find a job but not all of them can. The interviews for jobs are highly selective. If people want to get a really good job with high payment, they need to have a strong academic background and the skills needed by the company. Therefore, a lot of parents send their children to America, Britain, Australia and other countries. By studying abroad, I am learning about western culture and values, both of which are in demand in China.

Another question I am often asked is: Why would I choose an all-girls school like MGA? Well, my mother doesn’t need to worry about boys bothering me, so I can focus on academic life and do well in sports. At least, that’s how my mother thinks about a girls’ school. But for me, the choice wasn’t so clear. I thought going to a girls’ high school would be a nightmare, that there must be a lot drama in the school with girls being mean to each other.Surprisingly, none of these things happened. I made a lot of friends here. When we hang out together they are very patient listening to me. They never laugh about my poor English. I just feel really supported by all my friends.

Being at MGA has also given me a chance to try out new things. I used to hate running or doing sports, but last fall I decided to do something fun and change myself by joining the cross country team. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the breeze while running, and the fresh air. For me, every match is the best opportunity to challenge myself.

This year is my junior year, I need to prepare for senior year and get into a good college. I am aware that getting into a college is just the beginning of my future. College is just a place which prepares students like me for a work and career. I’m not absolutely sure what I want to major in in college. MGA has a career experience week for juniors, giving student the opportunity shadow a person who works in the career they think they want. Some people find out they are not interested in that particular work. Some people find out that they enjoy the experience.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my time at MGA is how to become my best self. My advice? Be open minded, don’t be limited by what other people say. You need to express your own ideas and be yourself. You are who you are. Accept your limitations, so you can make sure you focus in your better qualities. Most importantly, you need to have a perfect host mother like Leah Campbell.