Foreign students at Beijing high school graduate


2013 Graduation Ceremony of International Department of Beijing No. 80 High School Photos: Billie Feng
On the afternoon of June 3, a graduation ceremony took place at Beijing No. 80 high school. It was special because the graduating students came from various countries. They studied for a year in the International Department of the high school, which is striving to build itself into a world-class international high school. The theme of the graduation ceremony was “Shape Chinese Soul, Model International Spirit”.
The number of 2013 class of international students totaled 103. Six of the foreign students have been admitted to Peking University and 15 to Tsinghua University, while some of the Chinese students of the International Department have succeeded in getting admitted to well-known universities in the US and UK.
The foreign students value the time spent in Beijing and believe this will benefit their future study and life. Colin Achgill from the US said, “There are not many people in America who speak Chinese, so I think there should be more Americans who can speak Chinese because China has become a super power in the world. My Chinese will become an advantage when I apply to a university back in America later.” Colin knew nothing about Chinese before he came to China but now speaks the language fluently!
Paulina Rico-Juares performing a Peking Opera
Paulina Rico-Juares, another US student, said she had only read about Beijing in text books before. “My parents said I need to go through some challenges if I want to be successful, so they encouraged me to come to China by myself. I am much more mature than before and have learned how to take care of myself. I am very happy that my Chinese is good enough to make basic conversations.” Her level of Chinese also enables her to buy things from the famous Chinese shopping website Taobao. Paulina gave a Peking Opera performance on the graduation ceremony and won thunderous applause from the audience.
Adam Yaseen in costume
The school finds a host family for each foreign student. Adam Yaseen, from the US, stayed in the house of Chinese pop singer Pang Long. He said, “My Chinese father is a very nice guy and we play guitar together. I learned a lot about music from him.” Then he worked together with Paulina in the Peking Opera.
Time was short, but friendship lasts forever. Jasmine Koss, a Taiwanese-American girl, said, “I missed my parents when I just arrived in Beijing, but now I am starting to miss the friends I’ve made here.” She then did an erhu solo and played the piano for the chorus “Free to Fly.”
Everybody sings “Free to Fly”
Though their study in Beijing has come to an end, these young people will always cherish the friends they made here. 


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