Freshman Jacqueline Chao is from Beijing. She transferred in the second semester from the Changyang Foreign Language School.

Q: What’s unique about Beijing?

A: Beijing is the capital. It has really nice historical sites. The pollution there is pretty severe, though.

Q: Whom are you staying with?

A: With my host family. They are really nice people. I’m an only child, but there are two kids in the host family. One is 13, and one is 11.

I’m not with my parents, but we FaceTime every day.

Q: Why did you decide to continue high school in America?
A: I was looking for a challenge. Everything is completely different here. In China there are just tests and papers. I was looking for something else, with more personality.

Q: Why did you come in the second semester?

A: It seemed like a good time. We completed the interview by (Brooke) Wells (head of high school) and Lonna (Bloedau, director of admission); it was quite nice.

Q: What was your first impression of SCDS?

A: I think it’s a really beautiful campus. The people here are really friendly.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: I quite like French. The teacher (Richard Day)  is really funny, and we only have four people in the class, so it’s a really cozy atmosphere.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I do photography, I like tennis and I swim. I might join the teams if the opportunity comes.

(photos by Chao; slideshow by Mohini Rye)

Q: What do you miss the most about China?

A: I really miss the food there. Food in China has a really strong taste.

I’m a foodie. I don’t have a favorite food, really.

I haven’t tried the Chinese food here yet, but I’m sure it will be good.

Q: How are you transitioning from China to the United States?

A: My language is not bad, so it’s quite easy to transition.

Q: Do you still keep in contact with your friends from China?

A: Yeah, but they are really busy now with finals and quizzes.

Q: What are some differences between SCDS and the Chaoyang Foreign Language School?

A: Here the students have more freedom. They can decide hair color and what they wear. In China we have uniforms and have to have our hair cut. The bangs have to be above the eyebrows, and the rest above the ear. (That’s why my hair is so short right now.)

We have a really big classroom in China, at least 40 people. I see the same people every day. The class is also not active; the teachers talk and we take notes.

Q: What’s your favorite vacation?

A: On National Day [National Day is a public holiday in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that celebrates the founding of PRC. It is celebrated annually on Oct. 1] we went to the Seychelles. They’re islands on the Indian Ocean and very close to (East) Africa. There were cool views, and it was very beautiful. We went sightseeing, and I took lots of photos.

The culture is also different because it’s in Africa.

Q: What are three words that describe you?

A: Funny, easygoing and stubborn.

—By Mohini Rye

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