Foreign students experience DBHS campus life



Students from Shanghai and Guizhou visited DBHS classrooms for a a look at education in American schools.

Emily Jacobsson, Editor-in-chief

For the average Diamond Bar High School student, the school’s magic may be long gone, replaced by mundane routines and repetitive sights. However, what has become an unappreciated part of their daily lives offers an exciting new experience and a lesson in cultural differences for the three groups of Chinese students visiting the campus.

The first group of students arrived on Jan. 29, from schools in Shanghai and Guizhou. The second group, composed of students from a private all-girls school and its brother school from Taiwan, visited the week of Feb. 5. The final group, also from China, arrived yesterday.

The foreign students enjoy a less academically focused version of daily life at DBHS.

While they have the option to sit in on a math or English class, most chose to attend the set of more engaging classes organized by Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar. In those classes, many of the teachers provided activities for the students.

Photography teacher William Foley took photos of them to print out, woodshop teacher Sam Jacoby built photo frames with them and Commercial Music advisor Daryl Hernandez worked with students throughout the week so that by the final day, they could perform American Rock n’ Roll.

Ruo Hua Xu, a senior from the Shanghai school, said that he noticed the differences in artistic style between the two cultures through Vianney Hwang’s art class.

“The drawing style is a lot different from China. In China, drawing feels a lot more emotional and we focus a lot on drawing facial features. Here, they aren’t really interested in faces,” Xu said.

Juniors Jia Qiu Chen and Yue Xing, from the same school as Ruo, enjoyed sitting in on the Chinese classes to see how the American students were learning their native language.

“We thought of different questions to ask the students to help them learn more. I especially enjoyed the class because the Asian American students were kind and good-looking,” Chen said.

According to the foreign students, the most striking difference between DBHS and their schools in China was the fact that students move around to each classroom in the U.S., since in China the teachers are the ones who must rotate between classes. Many of the Chinese students also agree that the general atmosphere at DBHS is a lot different from what they are used to.

“The students here are a lot more relaxed and lively. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because our teachers are scarier, but I think it is just the culture,” junior Si Yu Huang said.  

On each day of the trip, the students spent the final period of the day with the Robotics team, who prepared a series of hands-on workshops to teach them about competitive robotics.

The traveling program, led by Dedicated to Learning, an organization that also hosts summer school on campus, has allowed foreign students to visit high school, middle and elementary schools in the Walnut Valley Unified School District for over four years.

As the summer school principal,  Aguilar managed the students’ experience at DBHS.

The exchange program acts as a fundraising opportunity for all the groups involved in hosting the students.

However, the greatest benefit, according to Aguilar, is that a new perspective is added for both parties.

“It’s a lot of fun. They’re good kids and the best thing…is that they all say the same thing, which is that we’re all so friendly here,” Aguilar said.