One high school from two global perspectives

Taiwanese and Chinese students experience classrooms at DBHS.

Brahmas across campus may have met many new faces over the last four weeks as high school students from East Asia came to sample American education. While Diamond Bar High School has welcomed students from China in previous years, this semester saw the international exchange expand to include Taiwan.

A group from Korea was also originally scheduled to visit DBHS before a last-minute cancellation left a gap in what would have been back-to-back weeks of foreign visitors.

Arriving first were the Taiwanese, 13 students from two separate schools—one boys-only and one girls-only—who rotated through seven classrooms over the course of three days. The group was distinguishable by their red or blue uniforms as they traveled with a chaperone around the campus.

According to visiting student Yang Chih Hao, DBHS struck her as much bigger than the institutions she was familiar with back home.

In Taiwan, she said, students remain in one room while instructors rotate, diminishing the need for numerous classrooms as seen on U.S. campuses. Here, she often had trouble locating her next destination.

“Students here are very kind,” Hao said. “They help us if we get lost.”

The first class to greet the group was teacher Ty Watkins’s first period AP Human Geography, followed by more elective courses—majority non-academic—for the remainder of their visit. They explored commercial music, video production and photography along with art, robotics and biology, as well as the Chinese foreign language class.

Split into smaller clusters, the students attempted to film a vlog in one period and dressed up for photoshoots in the next. Some sketched pencil caricatures of Taylor Swift, while others learned to fold small origami animals.

At the end of their three-day stay with the Brahmas, commercial music emerged as an overwhelming favorite among the visitors. Taiwanese student Yen Lun said he particularly enjoyed playing “like a band” because he had never practiced an instrument before.

“I liked playing drums, and I learned new skills,” student Cheng Pin Rong said as more students chimed at the mention of drums.

After wrapping it up at DBHS, the Taiwanese group set off to tour UCLA and USC before heading home.

Last Monday, two weeks after the students from Taiwan visited DBHS, a smaller number of students arrived from Wuhan, China. Although more had initially signed up for this annual winter break trip to America, several registrants were unable to meet their visa requirements.

The final group of four high school students launched their California visit at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles before heading to Diamond Bar for five days.

“[Our program] chose to visit this school because it’s a good school,” exchange student Cisy Wu said in Chinese.

Introduced immediately to the Brahma music program, Wu experienced her first taste of piano while Chinese student Cindy Yin also tried her hand at guitar. They then paid visits to the same wheel of classes observed by the Taiwanese group, with a few more core academic classes sprinkled in.

Leaving campus for the final time on Friday, the students planned to conclude their vacation by journeying to Universal Studios and perhaps a shopping outlet, along with additional West Coast attractions.