NAF AOF Student Acclimates to Life In America and Takes a Proactive Role in Shaping His Future

September 14, 2016

People are a product of their experiences. We are all shaped by our memories of either life-changing OR normal experiences.

I was born in an artistic family in Guangzhou, China. My father is a professor at a university in China, where he teaches traditional Chinese painting, while my mother was an advertisement designer. Despite this background, and to my parents’ dismay, I’ve never displayed any interest in those creative areas. However, they have always given me the liberty to choose to study any subject I desired, and for that, I’m truly appreciative.

I came to America two years ago for a better education and better opportunities. While I learned some English in China, the English I learned there is very different from the way people speak in this country. I supplemented my learning with television, movies, and radio – taking every opportunity to listen and learn, so that I can better speak and understand everyday English.

After I arrived in the United States, I experienced the massive difference between the Chinese education and the American education systems. A day in school in China is more lecture-based, and leaves little time for peer social interactions. I’m finding that classrooms here are more collaborative and encourage more open discussions. Also, high schools want students to be versatile and future-ready, and as a result, create many opportunities for students to experience workplace environment including job shadows, mock interviews, internship placements, and more.

I joined the NAF Academy of Finance last year at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, and our coordinator, Ms. Spiegel, always keeps us updated about different opportunities – including internship and career exploration sessions. I also really appreciate what the teachers here have done for me. They work hard to keep trying to help me and give me useful advice. My friends in school also ensure that I am getting accustomed to the culture here, and give me support when I am feeling lost.

I am a huge sports fan – especially soccer. I am currently a member of our school’s soccer team, and have taken away valuable lessons in teamwork, such as solidarity, communication, and cooperation – lessons that will remain indispensable. A memory that stands out is during our glorious fall 2015 season, when we won the first division championship in 7 years, something that I will always cherish.

Through my experience both in America and with my NAF academy so far, I’ve learned how to work hard to accomplish my goals, while also making friends in the process. I am enjoying my time in the states, and look forward to furthering my education here by going to an American college.