The EYAS Alumni

He went to America alone at the age of 13. How is he now?

Bill's“home”in the United States is located on the top of Himmelhaus, a 1300-square-meter house with excellent mountain views. The landlord was an old lady in her 70s. Bill is a guest and the Airbnb Manager of the house. Working in exchange for accommodation, he has been living here for more than a year.

Bill used to get up at 5:30 every day, and he took the bus to school, which cost him about an hour and a half. Now, during the epidemic, the school has switched from offline to online, making here a perfect “retreat”.

A few days in a week, I have to attend classes in the morning, and in the rest of the time, I read books by myself, learn some education courses on my own, deal with Airbnb, and occasionally go to play ball with my friends in the morning...” Bill went through all the recent arrangements.

“I have been in the United States for 7 years, and the biggest harvest is my ability to study on my own.” Bill said frankly, “A lot of classes in American universities are self-taught. The teacher doesn't read the textbook during class. It's your job to read the textbook. You need to read a lot after class and then come to class with questions. It's the same with homework. If you can't figure it out by yourself and ask the teacher, the teacher will usually give you a clue, but they won't give you an answer.”

During his college years, Bill never took a summer vacation. It took him only two years to finish almost all of the four years of undergraduate courses.

1Fight for the chance to go to an American high school

“Without EYAS, there would be no Bill today!”Bill's mother said frankly.

Going to the American high school alone at the age of 13 was not part of Bill's plan. The turning point of Bill's life can be traced back to the study tour to the United States organized by EYAS.

During the winter vacation of the first year of junior high school, Bill took part in the American Blue Ribbon Middle School study tour organized by EYAS. On the way home from the airport, Bill first told his mother that he“wanted to study in an American high school.”

What prompted Bill to have this idea?

“I might have been deeply attracted by the atmosphere of the American classroom.” Bill recalled.

When Bill came to the class himself, he found that the learning atmosphere here was totally different from that in China. “Chinese teachers often tell students a lot of knowledge in each class, so I can't take notes after a class without getting rusty. My books are filled with a lot of key points and test points. Classrooms in the United States are different, with small classes of 10 to 20 students. Teachers and students interact frequently, and students are encouraged to put forward their own ideas. Much like EYAS's, American teachers emphasize the process of inquiry over correct answers..” Bill concluded. At that time, he had studied at Rise English for three years and was fully capable of following such classes.

Now let's look at how Bill studied in the junior high school in China. At that time, he just entered Grade 7. Although he selected the school, the middle school he studied in was not the top one. He wanted to be admitted by one of the best high schools in the city and finally made it to 985 or 211 universities, but it was very difficult!

Weighing up the pros and cons, Bill became more determined to go to the American high school.

“Not a single relative supported my decision.” Bill's mother recalled, “They all think it's crazy to spend so much money on sending Bill to the United States.”

However, Bill's mother did not refuse outright. Instead, she and Bill analyzed the requirements for going to the US high schools together—

Capital was one of the concerns, and Bill's mother would try to solve the problem;

but it's up to Bill to submit applications to the school, to pass the school interview and to pass the written test. If all these requirements were met, Mom would agree to let Bill go as an “exchange student” for one year, after which he would decide whether to stay in the United States to continue his study.

With a clear goal and a lot of efforts, Bill finally passed the exams one by one and became eligible to go to the United States as an “exchange student” for one year in the Grade 9. At the same time, he started another kind of life.

2、Fromexchange studenttoprivate high school

The differences between Chinese and American cultures, the changes in teaching modes, and the differences in living environment and habits make many international students think that the first year in the United States is hard. But Bill doesn't seem to feel that way.

“If you have really experienced American high school classes, you will find that it has much in common with the classes at EYAS.” Bill recalled,“For example, there was once a course intended to help us learn how the American government works. The teacher divided the students into groups to simulate a series of processes such as investors and presidential debates, and finally filmed videos and advertisements. This learning style is no doubt the same as the PBL class in EYAS. Now, it seems, EYAS is just trying to provide an acceptable American classroom for Chinese children by using descending dimension method.

With his five years of English study at EYAS, Bill quickly followed the pace of an American high school.

After one year of “exchange student”, Bill decided to stay in the United States and transferred to a private high school with higher academic quality.

“The only difficult subject was English literature, just like the Chinese class. After all, students of Grade 10 in American private high schools are already reading Julius Caesar!” Bill exclaimed.

What to be done if reading quantity is not sufficient? Make up for it. Luckily, learning to learn (to study all the subjects in English), which Bill acquired at EYAS, enabled him to “understand better and learn faster”. Soon, he was catching up with others.

In Bill's opinion, American high school is not just a “shortcut” to a world-famous school for Chinese students; the greatest value of it is the improvement of one's independence, decisiveness and learning drive.

3、From Psychology to Pedagogy

There are some advantages if you attend an American high school and then apply for an American college, because some colleges do not count children who attended American high schools as international applicants, and thus have a much better chance of success. When Bill applied for colleges, from choosing schools, to writing essays, and to preparing for the SAT... He didn't bother his family at all. He did it all himself.

“Most of my classmates chose business, but I prefer humanities subjects, such as philosophy, history, psychology...” Bill said.

“Some of my friends heard I was a psychology major, and they came up to me and let me predict if they could get the girl.” Bill answered, laughing, “A psychologist can't predict a person's future. A person who studies psychology can explain to you why she does what she does, and give you reasonable suggestions. That's all.”

A person majoring in psychology has a clear career path, either in clinical research or in counseling.

Bill used to work as an intern at a juvenile rehabilitation center. “At that time, my job was to receive patients and keep records. I had to look at all the cases before I classified them. Patients commit suicide, run away from home, or get pregnant before marriage... Doing this job entails a strong heart.”

Bill also tried to explore the past psychology. In his junior year, he joined the MSU Denver Research Club, which often sponsored various psychological research experiments. For example, is it easier to get someone's phone number when they’re smiling? A recent topic given by a teacher is if people are more depressed because of COVID-19?

Bill admitted that neither of these two career paths was what he wanted to pursue. In fact, his dream job has always been to engage in education.

Over the years, Bill has purposefully accumulated a lot of educational experience.

“At first, it was EYAS that introduced me to a new kind of education, one that was different from traditional schools; Later, when I came to the United States, EYAS's education helped me build my confidence and find myself. Therefore, I believe that EYAS can also help other children, parents and educators in China to find the right path for their growth.” In the future, Bill hopes to explore more advanced educational concepts, teaching methods and teaching environment, and bring them to more people.

“After graduation, I will probably go to Japan, Singapore or anywhere else in the world to work in education.” After seven years of living alone in the United States, Bill has gradually lost the sense of nationality and can go wherever suits him best in this global village.

“Being able to choose the life you want to live”, isn't that what all parents expect most of their children?

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