Invited by St. John’s Preparatory School, the delegation of 18 students and teachers from our school arrived in Boston on 9th, January 2012, for their 14-day visit to St. John’s. During their stay in Boston, the group will attend classes in St. John’s, live in the host families to experience the life of American students both in school and out of school. Besides, they will visit some world-famous universities like Harvard, MIT etc. The follows are their diaries.
First day at St John’s Preparatory School
It’s sunny and not too cold, with a good mood, we finally stepped into St John’s. Today I will study with my partner, Brian McCarthy. We first went to the history classroom, the history teacher is very kind and of great hospitality. This class our topic is about napoleon, to my surprise. Because 2 months ago we have just learned the revolution of France, so I have a clear mind of him. Unfortunately, there are a good many words I don’t recognize on the homework paper.
Then next class is Chemistry, there I met my friend Wu Qiancheng.With him and our partners we had the Chemistry class. The class is about naming the ionic compounds. Though it is easy for me in Chinese, it’s a big deal in English. For example, how do you name HCl? In Chinese, I can say it without thinking, however in English I need to think it over and over. The chemistry teacher is of great knowledge as well as hospitality. After class I had a photo with him.
According to the schedule, it’s time for lunch now. I was first surprised at it that we would have lunch at 10:30, so I ask Brian, he said we must according to the schedule or we would be in hurry. The school’s cafeteria is huge and decorated beautifully. For we were not so hungry, we just had a copy of French fries and a cup of milk. The food in America is not so different from that in China, so I could get used to it.
Then the third class in the morning is math. The class is mainly about parallelogram, the things they were learning are so easy for me except how to get information from the paper, that is, how to understand the language. By the way, American students really dislike math......
Then we go to the Spanish class. The classroom has a special and classical style. Such a pity that I don’t know Spanish at all, so during the whole class, I could hardly understand what he is saying. However, Brian seems to be very curious and excited about Spanish…….
After that I go to the Mandarin class, the students are excited about our coming. Then I introduce my school and where I came from, they seemed to be interested in what I said……
After some snacks, we went to the school’s library, it’s not very tall and huge, which is different from Chinese school. Besides there are so many computers, in China, students bring their laptops. I surf the internet there and write this article.
To be continued
Under the roaring winds and streaming rain , we arrived the Harvard University that has been so much dreamt by every of us . But it was Mr . Jim who made that possible for us to reach our dreams . ?He was our "driver" as well as our "guide" who stood under the storm , pulling the gates of different buildings for us and waited until he was the last of us to go in . Then in MIT , ?he ran selflessly around to introduce the status of every stadium , and negotiate with the school to let us see students' experiments when knowing we are prohibited to do so . What was more important , these events happened the same time as there's still classes going on in his school . It made us really moved and thankful since he made time to guide these schools for us as he has pretty much for him to do just in normal days . Furthermore , he stood for us by giving us plenty of time to buy souvenirs . We felt warmness seeing his smile all the time , as the sunlight seen in the cold twilight of winter . While having lunch in MIT , he had a very simple one and spent most of his time finding us all to RV . This is Mr. Jim a respectable and kind man .
We really had a great time in St. John’s prep. The student over there is very friendly; we have the honor to visit the Harvard, the MIT and the BU. let's talked about something about St. John’s prep. It’s a really nice school. The class over there is really interesting. Especially in physic class, it's quiet different than what we have in China. We study the theorem first, but they do experiment first, then they will get to know how to use the theorem. I think that's nice, by the way, the laboratory in that school is very good, we enjoy the experiment class there. Another thing is that in history class, the students there can get the knowledge with critical eyesight. The students from our school are more hard working. That’s what we are good at. I strongly believe that hard working can replenish the weakness.
The Other Days at St. John’s Prep
It's so sad that today I have to leave my host family. These days I have been taken good care of by Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy, I just feel like I have been one of their family members.
In the evening, different from other families, Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy didn't take me out for dinner, but cooked so many delicious dishes for me. Spaghetti with chicken meat and delicious sauce made me experience American life, steaks filled with wonderful sauce reminded me of my mom and dad.
Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy, thank you so much for washing my clothes , preparing the nice breakfast (English Muffins and toasts) for me, driving me to school and getting me back home and such lots of things. You were just like my parents. I love you!
At school, I spent most of the time with you, Brian. I have really learned such many good qualities from you. You are critical, hardworking and curious about things. And as well you've got sense of humor, right? Don't play too much computer games and keep in touch with me!!
Laura, you are really a smart, cute, outgoing and beautiful little girl. You love smiling and brought a lot of happiness to my life here. You made me feel the felicity with brothers or sisters. I can still clearly remember the time we were playing Mario kart. You love purple, sushi, spaghetti, donuts and so on, right? ~ I hope you can make more progress in your study~
Julie, you are a little bit shy but very kind to me. On Saturday we went to watch your basketball game and you did a really great job. Though we didn't have so many talks, I'm feeling that we have been very good friends. It's really wonderful to have met you!
Though we would separate then, we are still together, no matter what the difficulties are, our hearts won't separate!
13th Jan. Day4
It's really a pleasure to see that the teachers accepted me as a part of them, which is mainly showed when I was allowed to take the test in the economics class. Their teacher, Dr. Gary Stone, was a very passionate person as well as kind. And I took the test just after having two of his classes. Unlike the type I usually do at school, their tests are more likely to be about the opinion of the students. Though there was a lot of difficulty finding the answer to the questions, for there's a lot I didn't know, I actually had a grade of 88, which was pretty high for the subject. Dr. Gary was kind and generous with his time correcting the mistakes for me and spoke high of me, which made me impressed later. He's one of the best teachers here I have ever seen.
Later that day, we had War and Peace and American Government, which were even more exciting and enjoyable. In these classes, we learnt about history and politics, and it astonished me when I saw how they taught the class. The War and Peace class, taught by Mr. Britain, was awesome since he tried to teach with opinions on both sides, and revealing the truth by showing real videos taken in wars. The other teacher, who's the teacher of American Government, was different from Mr. Britain. She more likely to want students to take over the class , while she sat down seeing and giving comments to students up who had prepared well and confident of their own show . That really taught me a lot of ways to study and showed me how excellent teachers handle their classes.
In the end of the day, there was an event that is the heart of all - the fair well dinner. It was very lucky to have my host family around, and it was the day we gathered for goodbye. The mother of my host family, Mrs. Collyer, was really excited about the event, sad with the fair well though, prepared very early for the dinner that day, and I was glad to offer my help when they were caring us for all the things these days. When we arrived at the dining hall, it was Mr. Jim Stager, one of the most brilliant and beloved person in St. John Prep, who welcomed us and gave us a warm talk. And it was Mr. Stager who I'll never forget that arranged our living and studying here with warmness in his heart and the selfless mind that moved all of us during the whole time we spent in his school. After meeting other host families and my friends, we enjoyed a proper and delicious meal with happiness and thankfulness. When the dinner was over, we, the guests with our partners, went for a photo together with smiling faces and joyful laughs. Later on there was the songs, performed by all of us, the exchange students who were under the help of host families and nearly everyone who's hearts were warm and bright as if the sun rising from the horizons. I was put in charge of introduction of the songs, and though I was nervous and mistake able through the time, I saw the brightness and love in people's eyes just as ones of Mr. Stager, giving me and my team the bravery to show our thankfulness to people who loved us and loved by us. Though we were worlds apart, on this day I think, as their eyes water as ours, we are true families, together as one, and that shall be one that I will never forget in my lifetime.
During the four days' study in St. John Prep, I have a lot to share with you guys in China. This opportunity acquired me with loads of great knowledge. And I have to acknowledge that the American education system is amazing. Now let me tell you some of my feelings.
Firstly, this is absolutely free enough for students in class and in doing some experiments. In details, for instance, students can put their laptops, ipads or some other electronic things. But in China, it is banned. Students in class are very active, whenever they have questions, they'll hands up and then ask teacher about that.
Afterwards, there are some differences between Chinese schools and American schools. Students have their lockers, they put their clothing and books in it and once they need it they'll take that off. And students don't stay in one classroom for the whole school life. Every time the class ends they will switch class, which means they will go to different classes to study. The decoration of the classroom is totally according to the teachers. The devices of the computer labs are awesome, all of which are Apples. Pretty cool huh. They have five classes per day. The school ends very early, and after school students will go to the library to read books or finish their homework. The subjects are also different except for some standard subjects, and they also have languages studying and Faith. They are able to choose languages from Spanish, French, German and Chinese. That's cool, and a lot of things that I can't say now.
Our school should really learn from it.