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While the wave of Chinese students studying overseas is rising, their age is decreasing. Seven young Chinese boys are part of a new boarding school program at a Catholic Boys' School in San Francisco. Our correspondent Rachel Silverman has more on their experience.
In a practice quiz in American Sign Languange Class today, the teacher signs an equation, and the students sign back the answer. For kids in the overseas program at , signing provides a welcome break from English, the foreign language they speak in the rest of their classes.
Henry Liu is a sophomore from Beijing.
Liu said, "The classes are very different from the classes in China. In classes here we do many interesting stuff such as presentations, even act in skits, we do stuff like that."
Liu enjoys a new way of learning
First, We'll be having more free time to develop our own interests, and second we can I think we can develop our self- learning skills here because the teachers won't tell you everything.
Of the nearly 600 students at Riordan, 23 are boarding students, 20 of them from China. The boarders sleep in a part of the school that until last year was a dormitory for the Marionist (Catholic) priests and brothers who worked at the school. And they eat their meals in the school cafeteria.
The Chinese students say they miss the food from home, but what they miss most are friends and family.
Simon Wang says he likes the challenge of a new environment.
Wang said, "I want to be more independent and widen my eyes open."
Academic services director Tina Shen checks in on the boarding students after school every day, and advises them getting into a good American college or university means thinking about more than just academics.
Tina Shen, director of Academic Services, said, "They think they as long as they study and stay in their room and get straight A they will get into college."
Like Simon who is on the varsity soccer team, Shen advises the students to stretch themselves outside of the classroom, joining a sports team, playing in the band, acting in a play, or participating in other extra curricular activities.She says it takes a special student to succeed so far away from home.
Tina Shen said, "Need to be very active. Very outgoing. And not afraid of challenge. It takes you to be very brave to study abroad and to be away from family at such an early age. And you have to have this kind of willing that I'm going to study hard, work hard, and going to make friends here."
Some of Riordan's American students plan to study in China over the summer. And the high school is actively recruiting more Chinese students for next year. School administrators say having Chinese students in this San Francisco high school has already brought countless benefits to the students from California as well as the students from China.