Zhang Reflects on Four Years in USA, Plans to Attend College Here


Hailey Swonger, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

For many NDA seniors, the final year of high school  becomes a time of reflection and gratitude.

YunMei Zhang’s been thinking about her past four years too.

“I thought I wouldn’t fit into American culture, but I made lots friends and I have lots of people that care and love me. I’m so grateful to them all.”

“From being here, I’ve learned lots of things. The first thing I learned was that I like food in China better,” said the international student.

She also described the language barrier as her biggest challenge in America. She said things like slang are especially hard for her even though she’s been here for four years.

“When I first came here, I translated it all to Chinese and then I could understand, but now I’ve gotten better at that. English has become second nature to me.”

Another adjustment for her was the American school day, which are shorter than those in China.

“We have a uniform too, and our school starts really early,” she explained.  “Sometimes we start at 6:45 and end at 6:45. And the subjects are harder because China has a lot of people so our competition is really hard.”

Zhang plans to continue her education here too. “I didn’t graduate from high school there, so I can’t go back to China for college. I don’t know where I’m going to college yet.  I’m still waiting for an offer.”

So what prompted her to take the challenge of a new country, new language, and a new school?

“I wanted to be a foreign exchange student because I wanted a new start at life, and I wanted to experience new things,” Zhang said.

She now feels like she’s accomplished what she set out to do and wants to go further in her new American life.