By Rebecca Peng ’20
Many things about Lauralton make it unique, one of which is its Chinese exchange program. Because of this program, the school has several international students, who help to diversify the discussion and the community. It’s important for us to communicate and share culture with our peers of different backgrounds. Thus, Highlights reached out to exchange students to understand what their experience at Lauralton has been like so far. Hannah Liao, Jessica Wu and Tiffany Lai were interviewed.
Q: Can you please introduce yourself briefly and describe where you come from?
Hannah: I am Hannah, or Yihan in Chinese. I used to live in Zhongshan, which is a really small town. I love the “small town life,” because it gives me a sense of relaxation and fulfillment.
Jessica: I am Jessica (Jiaqiao). I come from Shenzhen; it’s a great city located in Southern China. The weather is like the West Coast [of the US]; we do not have winter and snow there.
Tiffany: I’m Tiffany, or Feifei. I lived in Guangzhou, which is actually the same area as Jessica’s city. As you may know, China has “provinces,” which are like the “states” in the U.S. Both of us come from the same province, but different cities. I love GZ so much’ it is the best place in the world.
Q: You all mentioned that you love your country and your hometown. For what reasons did you choose to come abroad, and why did you choose the U.S?
Hannah: Because English is the most popular language in the world, and it was a required course for us back home. It was like taking Spanish for students here. Personally speaking, I did not really think that my English was good at the time, so I came to Lauralton, because the best way to practice a language is to go to somewhere where you will be among native speakers. I chose the U.S just because I really like this country. I travelled here before, and I felt people were friendly here.
Tiffany: Just to practice my poor English, and I am still working on that now. I hate academic writing, however it is the best way accumulate knowledge of a language. My reason for choosing the U.S will sound weird, but it’s because I hate U.K (I do not why, it’s just a feeling), and I do not like the British accent.
Jessica: I am actually really confident with my English speaking skills. I chose to go abroad because I am passionate about being a global citizen, and I want to know more about the globalized world. However, China was kind of limiting my perception of the whole world. Since China has five thousands years of history, the traditional stuff is not only our pride, but also a burden sometimes. As a result, innovative, creative, and new thoughts and ideals are hardly accepted in my family. Therefore, I left to go abroad to the U.S. I love this country; it is passionated, kind and creative! This is what I like! Different from the U.K, which is another [example of a] “traditional country.”
Q: Why Lauralton?
Hannah: I am a transfer student, so before I attended to Lauralton, I got a letter from a Lauralton girl. When I saw the letter, I knew where I was going before I even opened it. It just made my day. I felt lots of sincerity from Lauralton. The letter said:“Even though you did not ultimately choose Lauralton, it was still a pleasure for us that you applied.” This letter showed me how kind and nice Lauralton is, as a school. So, I left my original first choice school for Lauralton.
Tiffany: Honestly, I do not really know. My mom told me that this is a really good and nice school. And I got the offer, so I came.
Jessica: Because there were three really famous women in China who studied abroad at Lauralton when they were young. One of them was the wife of Jiangjieshi, and he was quite famous in Chinese history. This wife of his, Song Meilin, was a really graceful, rational and intelligent lady. She was like a model for all Chinese girls. I want to be a woman like her, so I decided to attend Lauralton.
Q: Why an all girls school?
Hannah: Because of the safety [here]. I am in another country all by myself. My mom feels like nobody can really protect me, but feels safer with me here. Also, I really like this school because of that that letter (described earlier). All girls versus co-ed school does not really matter to me; I do not really care.
Tiffany: Because I only applied to Lauralton; I had no choice.
Jessica: Personally speaking, I wanted to go to a co-ed school. Nevertheless, each time I remember that the graceful Song sisters graduated from this school, I feel like, I do not care about it being all girls. Lauralton is my gateway to becoming the President’s wife.
Q: List the three words you would use to describe Lauralton when you first arrived here. Do you still feel the same way?
Hannah: Separation, a little bit, homesickness, and confusion. Because I was a transfer student, I guess it was a little bit hard for me to make friends, at first. In addition, my English was not that good at the time, so I was afraid of speaking incorrectly. I avoided talking to other people. However, the words now would be love, friends, and home. Lauralton is like a big family, I found my best friends here, and I moved to live with my new host parents, who treat me so well. I found love here.
Tiffany: Good, nice and friendly. I love Lauralton so much, all the American girls gave me so much help when I was afraid of speaking English.
Jessica: Happiness, friendship, and academic. Maybe it’s because Lauralton is an all girls school, but everyone just focuses on studying. You easily see girls reading their books everywhere, at any given time. It actually encourages me to study harder.
These students explain that Lauralton is a place where foreigners can study abroad in a warm and loving environment. They extend many thanks to the school for gathering them here together, and they are grateful to all of their American peers for their continuous help and support.
Photos (in order): Hannah Liao, Jessica Wu
Cover Photo: Lauralton Hall