9th National Conference Planned 2012




SCSAUS Student Club – By a Great Wall Chinese School (PA) Student 

中文与英文共进 后悔和庆幸并存

Twelve years ago, I came to the United States speaking Chinese. Six years later, my parents sent me to Chinese School speaking English. The gap between these years had a disastrous effect on me-as a first generation Chinese immigrant surrounded by an English world, I had lost total exposure to Chinese except within my family. Thus, I had let my language skills in Chinese deteriorate. Fortunately, before all could be lost, my parents decided to send me to Chinese School, whereupon I was left to salvage what I could from the remnants of my Chinese skills.

At that time, as a sixth grader, I had protested furiously against my parents' decision. I had just started middle school, where I had discovered that both schoolwork and extracurricular activities had increased manifold and that there was definitely considerable less time in the day to complete all my tasks. Because of this, I thought that Chinese School was a total waste of my time, but my parents remained firm in their decision. "Chinese is important," they said, "Just try your best." So grudgingly I began to attend Chinese School weekly, where people spoke a language that was unfortunately becoming foreign to me.

As I progressed through Chinese School, I began to discover again the beauty of the language and the importance of attaining fluency in it. Furthermore, through my study of Chinese, I learned about different aspects of Chinese culture that I wouldn't have known otherwise. And of
course, I met very interesting people in my classes whom I wouldn't have met in regular school. Subsequently, it was a huge surprise to me when I actually discovered that Chinese school was an enjoyable experience.

Chinese school has not only taught me Chinese. Through Chinese 
school, I learned about discipline, organization, and responsibility. The added work of Chinese school to my other activities required that I become more focused at home-just so I will be able to complete all my work in time. This responsibility and time management that I learned through Chinese school of course has applications to everything I do-from studying for tests to organizing a club meeting to learning vocabulary words for the SATs. Partially because of the study skills I learned from having to manage my time wisely because of the extra work from Chinese school, I have high grades and SAT scores.

Currently, I am a senior in high school, in the process of applying to many extremely selective colleges. I have been told numerous times from admission officers and college counselors I have met that knowing a language such as Chinese is an invaluable skill. In the world of college admissions, many of the applicants to distinguished schools such as Ivy League schools will mostly have the same credentials-high grades, 
high SATs, good leadership skills, etc. Therefore, the applicants with distinguishing characteristics will be the ones admitted. It is obvious that not everybody knows Chinese. Therefore, knowledge of Chinese can set an applicant apart from another, and can immeasurably benefit the Chinese-speaking applicant in the long run in terms of admission to college.

In addition, many elite college and universities offer special 
International Studies or study abroad programs where knowledge of Chinese is necessary. Proficiency in Chinese is an admissions requirement at programs such as The Huntsman Program of International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania/The Wharton School. Knowledge of Chinese 
plays a huge benefit when seeking admissions to highly selective schools such as the Sloan School at MIT, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Princeton University, Georgetown University, George Washington 
University, and others. Later, knowledge of Chinese will make a person a more favorable applicant for companies seeking to hire employees with diversified skills.

Knowing all this, I am so glad that my parents decided to force me to go to Chinese school seven years ago. If there is one thing I regret about my Chinese school experience, it is that I did not start going sooner. There is no doubt that Chinese school has had a hugely positive impact on me, both as a student and as a person. 


File format last updated 2012.9.15