Tiannuo Yun; China
Tiannuo Yun, 16, knew she would be living in the United States and attending school in a different environment from a young age. Coming from Shanghai, China, where children begin learning English as early as kindergarten, Yun is excited for the year ahead of her.
“I like the environment here,” Yun said. “I think the campus is really beautiful. Here you can enjoy the air, the school life.”
In 2008, Yun visited the U.S. for a short period of time in Chicago where her aunt lives. She encouraged Yun to choose Washington as the place to complete her studies.
“[My aunt] told me Washington is a beautiful place and the environment is safe here,” Yun said.
In Shanghai, Yun attended an international school that encouraged her use of English and knowledge of other cultures.
There, she was on a dance team where she grew to love hip hop. Yun isn’t currently on a dance team in the U.S., but does hope to join clubs in the future after she has settled in.
“For school, I just want to first fit in. I want to keep on with my studies and I want to do well with my grades,” Yun said. “I just want to be simple for this place, get to know people and make friends.”
Even though Yun thoroughly enjoys her experience here living with her host family, she does miss certain elements of China.
“Food is the most important thing. I’m ok with that because I can adapt to an environment very well and very fast but I miss my Chinese food,” Yun said, “but I can cook at my host family’s house, so that’s very good.”
Yun will remain at Pierce for two years until she completes the American Honors program. From there, she hopes to transfer to either Columbia University or New York University for an East Coast experience.
“I want to prepare for my four year college so I can know the system of here so I can be prepared,” Yun said. “I want to make more friends that’s a benefit for me and we can talk about anything and we can share our experiences.”
Thomas Young Jun Choi; South Korea
It has been eight years since Thomas Young Jun Choi, 16, has been to the United States. Now, it’s his first year as a student at Pierce College where he hopes to grow and immerse himself in the culture.
Choi’s mother is a university professor in South Korea and received a year-long sabbatical when Choi was in third grade. His family moved to California for a short time, where she taught at University of California, Irvine.
“My aunt and my uncle and my cousins live there,” Choi said, “so my aunt could bring my mom to her university.”
Choi has now returned to the United States in a completely different environment at a new stage in life.
“I’m excited for the environment here,” Choi said. “But there’s not a lot of places you can go without a car.”
Choi no longer has the constant means of transportation here in the U.S. like South Korea has.
“Back in Korea, there is a lot of transportation like subways and busses, so we can just move around quickly and easily and here, there is a bus like every hour,” Choi said.
Choi has always loved sports of all kinds, but specifically basketball. Much of his time in South Korea when he was not playing video games or hanging out with friends was spent playing for basketball, volleyball and soccer teams.
“I love to play all sorts of sports but I don’t have much time [in the U.S] because I have to focus on my studies,” Choi said.
Since Choi attended an international school in South Korea where he became familiarized with many different cultures, he hasn’t found Pierce College to be too much of an environmental change from his previous school.
Food and the South Korean transportation system; however, is what Choi misses most about his home city in Korea.
Choi will remain at Pierce for two years until he completes the American Honors program for math and science. He hopes to transfer to a four year university to major in mechanical engineering.
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