Margaret Guan: Studying Abroad ‘Enticed’ Her

Ava Vanden Corput , Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

中签会, better known as Margaret Guan, is a two-year foreign exchange student at Notre Dame who is from China.

She is currently a senior involved in the full International Baccalaureate program, so she is definitely not one to stand down from a challenge, which explains some of the reason she decided to be a foreign exchange student in the United States.

“I became an international student because the experience of studying abroad enticed me. I wanted to gain a new perspective to broaden my horizon as well as make friends with different people from the other side of the world,” said Guan.

However, before coming to the United States, she was faced with her first challenge of choosing the school she wanted to attend for the next two years of her high school education.

“There are many reasons for why I chose Notre Dame. First, NDA has offered me the ability to be able to start as a junior rather than wasting my time as a sophomore. This saved me one year of tuition which is always good. Another reason I chose NDA is that it has amazing academics, great teachers and overall is an excellent place to learn and study. Finally, NDA offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum which was very unique among all other high schools on the list that just offered Advanced Placement (AP) courses,” she said.

After picking her school, Guan had to choose the courses she wanted to take at Notre Dame, and she decided to dive in and take full IB.

Being a full IB candidate requires a student to write a 4000-word essay, participate in CAS activities, take three higher level courses as well as three standard level courses as well as take a final exam on each subject on two years worth of material at the end of senior year.

It can be a daunting task for someone whose first language is English, so taking full IB with your second language being English is a truly challenging task.

“The best part of this experience has been taking full IB. This course has tortured me, but I like to say what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I have learned how to evaluate sources like a true historian in IB history because when I first came here, I was using Wikipedia as a source for everything. I have also learned how to write a commentary on a novel we are reading as well as learn how to think outside the box by interacting with others,” said Guan.

Guan has been challenged day in and day out as an international student, but with the help of others she has pulled through and learned so much.

“All the teachers are patient and always give me a lot of support and help, which I truly appreciate,” stated Guan.

Not only has Guan learned a lot, but she has also developed some new suggestions for Notre Dame to make the school even better by exposing the school to international students’ culture.

“I hope NDA will establish an international student club where all the international students can gather together and introduce our culture to our peers. I feel like this would be a good way to develop our holistic view and add more diversity to our school,” she suggested.

Overall, Guan agrees that the experience of studying abroad has been mostly positive and truly eye-opening and will forever be an experience she will never forget.

“This experience of studying abroad has opened so many new doors to me that will help me in the future. I’ve learned about different cultures and new perspectives that I would not have learned without this experience, so that I can be nothing but thankful.”