The Sino-American Program at Harbin Wanbang School is proud to graduate yet another class of wonderful students. This year, eight students graduate from SAP and head out to university campuses around the world. These students have come from many different backgrounds and situations. They’ve lived in the United States, Canada, Qatar, South Korea, and China. They are going on to pursue fields of study in Medicine, Engineering, International Relations, Business, and more. We are sad to see them leave our family but excited and full of hope as they begin the next steps of their journey. We hope they continue to grow and develop as they live out the core values of Wanbang School—to Be Honest, Be Diligent, Love Others.
Si (Muse) Chen
University of Washington at Seattle (Seattle, WA)
Yena (Lois) Chung
Fudan University (Shanghai, CHINA)
Yujin (Lily) Jeon
Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)
Chaerin (Lynn) Kim
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel HIll, NC)
Junwoo (Aron) Park
University of Utah Asia Campus (Incheon, S. KOREA)
Seoyeon (Gina) Shim
Rochester University (Rochester, NY)
Tsinghua University (Beijing, CHINA)
Heejun (Daniel) Yang
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL)
Spring is here in Harbin! All traces of snow and ice are gone and buds are starting to appear on the trees. With the signs of life and regrowth returning to nature, this season is also an exciting one for our program!
Our seniors are wrapping up a very eventful college application season. Most of the college results are back, with a few international school results yet to come. Our eight seniors have been accepted to many high-quality schools in the U.S. and around the world, including:
Agnes Scott University
Indiana University - Bloomington
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
University of Rochester
University of Utah - Asia Campus
University of Washington - Seattle
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Coming this week, Harbin Wanbang School is excited to host for the first time, an informational seminar about U.S. colleges to be given by a team from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We think this will be an excellent opportunity for our students as well as other students and families in the area.
Another semester begins! We have many exciting things to look forward to in the Spring 2017 semester.
Here in Harbin, snow still covers the ground. While still sub-zero, the temperatures are slowly creeping higher as spring nears. Firecrackers signal local shops reopening their doors after the long break. The streets around Wanbang fill again with busy residents and students resuming their daily lives.
Our seniors have submitted a record number of applications to universities across the U.S., Hong Kong, and China and are eagerly awaiting news. Some of them have already begun to receive acceptances and scholarship offers.
Our juniors are all working hard on their own college search, looking for the best options for them and learning how to determine which schools are the best fit for them.
The 10th graders have just completed the second week of their 2-week Winter Intensive course introducing them to the TOEFL exam. This will kick-start a focused preparation for the TOEFL exam that they will add to their current rigorous academic schedule.
Later this spring, Wanbang is looking forward to hosting visits from several different American universities. We hope that this will continue to inspire our students to pursue higher education in America. We strive to make sure our students are prepared to succeed at any U.S. university or any university around the world.
In May, the 11th and 12th graders will be taking a total of 41 AP Exams! This year, because of a recent change in the SAT Exam schedule, our juniors will also be taking the SAT in May as well. This will be a very busy month for our students.
2017 and the spring semester hold a lot of uncertainty and excitement. As program director, I am proud of what our students have accomplished this far and look forward to seeing how they will continue to grow and develop to become global citizens who seek to effect positive change around the world!
It definitely thrilled me! Attending at the International Future Business Leader Summit (MicroBiz) in Shanghai, I changed my thoughts about Chinese education. The education system of China is gradually changing from mere college entrance exam preparation to a holistic character-building style. More and more Chinese students and their parents realize the limitations that the current education system has. Also, the Chinese Education Bureau consistently emphasizes creating various activities and programs to overcome the current difficulties of only one standard Chinese College Entrance Examination for every student.
About 1200 young students from well known secondary schools all over China, including foreign students who study in China, gathered together in Shanghai on February 1~6, 2017 for the 12th MicroBiz Competition. MicroBiz provides students a program that prepares them for the business world. At the competition, 6 or 8 students become a team to build a company, and divide the roles of CEO, Product Design team, Investment team, and Marketing team. 186 companies competed in a mock business environment for five fiscal year segments.
The company “T150 – TGT” (ToGeTher, TarGeT, The Great Thing), was established by Harbin Wanbang School students. Siwon Song served as the CEO, Jiyoon Kang and Beomhyeok Lee severed as product designer, Ha Yeon Choi, Youli Jang and Heejun Yang served on the Marketing team, Hyunjeong Jun and Yuhong Chen served as the Investment Managers. Proudly enough, Beomhyeok Lee was selected as a keynote speaker for the Summit and he gave a speech in English at the opening ceremony. Our team was competing with 46 companies in the English speaking division. Our students’ team received the highest Angel Investment Grant at the beginning of the competition, but unfortunately, experienced company bankruptcy because of miscommunications. They analyzed the problems and overcame them together with a new strategy, and finally ran the company satisfactorily. Our team won the Best Dealer Company, the Best Product Design, the Best Investment Manager of The Year, Outstanding CEO awards, and Best Students in the Future MBA program.
The experience at MicroBiz was more than getting awards or a certificates of achievement. It challenged our students to see what they could achieve through their hard work. I was happy to see from our students’ reflection, that they experienced not just a competition, but they learned how to build relationships and teamwork, applying what they learned with sparkling ideas, making a vision and its strategy. In addition, I could see that our students effectively learned skills of communication, discussion, debate, negotiation, and management, with passion and eventually challenged themselves to their limit.
The end of the fall semester is probably the busiest time of year here at Wanbang. Students in the choirs, drama club and art team have just wrapped up another successful Winter Song Festival and performance of our first original play, "The Christmas Blessings." Seniors are polishing off those last essays for colleges with January 1 due dates and are starting to get excited about the colleges they have already been accepted to. Sophomores and Juniors are making plans for taking SATs and TOEFLs during the upcoming break. And the onset of winter colds and flus seems to be perfectly timed for this most stressful time.
During this wonderful, hectic time, let's remember to be thankful, even for the chaos. The work that everyone did preparing for the Winter Festival made the show a beautiful experience for the student body. Each essay written, helps us learn a little more about our self. Preparing for tests helps us learn in different ways. And even sickness can teach us how to rely on others.
The semester break will soon be here. Take time to rest, but let's also fill that time with exciting new experiences outside of school.
We at Wanbang School would like to wish all of our students and their families a very happy holiday season and a busy, chaotic and rewarding 2017!
Hello, friends, teachers, and parents. My name is Lucy Lee. We had a great time, learning not only English but also how to be global and how to be a true leader of this world. This time, specifically, I’d like to share what I and we learned from W.I.S.E Class.
On the first day, we worked individually to decorate our own fans. On the second day, we played a game in 2 teams which the team that has highest positive score wins. On the third day, we played Apples-to-Apples game, which was to find connection between 2 different word cards. At first, when I recalled these 3 activities, it seemed like we just enjoyed, and had fun playing games, making new fans, earning points and so on. However, there were something really important hidden, and these 3 activities were having special connections.
We learned how to express ourselves in creative way by making fans individually. None of our fans was same, which means we are all different, and we all have our own special color. Next, we learned how to connect 2 different things. We could find connections between ‘polite,’ and ‘earth,’ or ‘honest,’ and ‘cutting hair.’ Such nonsense words can be connected, then why can’t ‘we’ be connected? Subsequently, we learned how bad the outcome is when we don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t cooperate. We, both teams could win together, however our greediness to win alone led to a tragedy.
So, as global leaders, we should make ourselves special, which would be more powerful when we are connected and cooperate toward one vision. Likewise, W.I.S.E class helped us take a step toward ‘global leader’ and I hope we don’t stop training ourselves to be ‘global leader,’ remembering these valuable experiences.
For me, deciding which college to attend was harder than what I thought. The tuition was the biggest obstacle that prevented me from choosing the right college that I really want to spend my next 4 years in. After talking with my parents about my dream and what experience will be most valuable to me when I do the things that I want to do in the future, I decided to go to America. Among several different choices that I had for American colleges, I chose University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is known as one of the oldest public universities.
The reason why I chose to attend UNC-Chapel Hill is because I knew that the school life there will be very different from what I have experienced up until this point. I have spent most of my student years in small private community and I wanted to challenge myself with much more diverse and large community. Also, since the school is big, the opportunities and activities seemed like it was unlimited. Another factor that attracted me to this school was a relatively small number of international students compare to that of other big public schools. Most large colleges have a lot of Korean or Chinese students, but for this school, only 1-2% were international students. This told me that I will be exposed to American culture more naturally. Finally, I liked the fact that UNC-Chapel Hill focused on liberal arts education while being a big research university. The balance between liberal arts education and research university education attracted me. Also, the academic rigor of this school was relatively high, so I wanted to challenge myself by studying with the students who are strong academically.
My biggest expectation for my college life in UNC-Chapel Hill is meeting diverse people and getting involved in or starting new things that are related to my passion in and outside of the campus. I am looking forward to meet people from a country that I haven’t been to or haven’t even heard of. I expect it to be hard and challenging, but I also can already see how I will grow up and change through that experience, so I am very excited about meeting new and diverse people in the college. Also, I am more than just excited to start a club or get involved in an organization that I can actually do something actively for the society and make change to my community. I know some of them will be just my fantasy for going to U.S. colleges, but still the fact that I will be exposed to a larger and totally different world makes me challenge and dream for my college life.
I have chosen Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
First of all, while I was preparing for American Colleges in Wanbang School, I came to be very interested in the rapid development of the Chinese economy and the country itself, and I changed my mind to prepare for Chinese University. Before, I was totally into Biology and scientific field of studies, but when I came to be interested in Chinese and global economy, I thought that studying in China would be better for me to know and understand more about China. Even though I've studied in China for almost 4 years, I was a part of SAP for preparing for American Universities, so I didn't get to study about Chinese culture and language deeply enough.
I'm very excited about going to Fudan University as an Economics major student, because I'm excited about living in such a vibrant city studying what I have not tried studying before. I found another aspect of me in myself while I was studying in China that what I like and want to do is not only science, but also social sciences as well. Since Shanghai is the center of economy and the most globalized city in China, and Fudan University is renowned for its highly-ranked economics program, I would like to try studying Economics at Fudan and I am very excited and anticipated about it.
I’ve decided to go to Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. First, it focuses on “sustainable education,” exploring ways to preserve and improve current states in society, economy, and environment in which I am interested. The more I read about Dickinson, the more I see that it is future-oriented and makes an effort to improve global society, which strengthens my desire to attend Dickinson. It also has International Studies major where I can learn deeply about different fields and connect them to understand global development and issues. The financial package it offers me definitely triggered my decision. Additionally, its location, neighboring big, major cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York, is perfect for me. Most of all, I had the feeling that “this is my school.”
I’m really excited about my four (or more) years of college life, what I will learn--not only academically but also personally--and who I will meet in the diverse campus and how I will grow from all these experiences. I’m confident that SAP helped provide me the chance to go to America. in addition to everything we learned in our classes, it gave me the opportunity to improve my overall English and be more familiar with the American culture. Most of all, the sincere advice from the teachers helped me a lot!
Defining itself a country of immigrants, America has a unique history of immigration unlike any other countries in the world. Of the immigrants, Chinese immigrants take up great percentage, and looking at the history of the Chinese immigrants and the life they lived, allows people to understand American history, culture, and the relationships between other countries and US as well.
In the book Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, See brings readers into the beautiful but tragic lives of two sisters who were beautiful, wealthy Shanghai models. The two sisters, Pearl and May, experience their lives shift from the wealthy and prosperous life of Shanghai to refugees of the China-Japan war, to Chinese Immigrants in the US. The author vividly and beautifully describes the emotional shifts of the characters by depicting the setting, but more successfully shows, and almost actually bring the readers to each historic scene that Pearl and May live through.
Life in Shanghai is described at the very beginning of the book but becomes the base for Pearl, who is the main character of the story. Her life in the US as an immigrant contradicts in every possible way and shows the hardships she had to go through. When she finally gets on a ship heading to the US, she wonders what life in America would be like and whether expected or not, her life in the US begins in the Angels’ island, immigration office.
For me, life in the US was full of happy memories and extraordinary experiences of different cultures as well as hardships that I faced, which all happened on the base of understanding of people who knew that I was from a foreign place and therefore it was okay—or even mandatory—for me to make mistakes or ask for help. Memories of listing all different kinds of animals’ names in Biology class when I was supposed to name all the root names for plants, or going into the “men’s” restroom when I thought it was “ma’am’s” restroom all make me smile although they once were painfully embarrassing moments. However, there still were moments that I remember just as much, but meaningful moments that shaped me to be who I am, such as packing tuna sandwiches to save few dollars or organizing the shopping carts in front of the Stop&Shop to earn pocket money my mom would not give me.
However, America of the mid 1900s that Pearl experienced was full of segregation and discrimination as well as hatred towards the Chinese who represented communism and Russia to Americans. Pearl passes phone call interviews because of her fluent English, learned in Shanghai, but is rejected when her ethnicity is revealed through a face to face interview with a word, “Sorry, we thought you were Italian because of your last name Louie.” For Pearl, America never once stopped being suspicious of her intention of coming to the US and of her skills or abilities because she was from China when her one and only purpose for living in America was to survive.
Not only this, but one of the significant parts in the book was the part where Pearl’s family is inspected by the US government because of their visa problems that has to do with fake family relationships made under the name of the paper son in order to immigrate into America. Although on the surface, the government had inspected Pearl’s family because of illegal migration issues, the real reason for the inspection is because Joy, Pearl’s daughter has been participating the Students’ Communism Activities. Such inspection ends as Sam, Pearl’s husband commits suicide under the pressure of the government to report all the people he knew that illegally immigrated and unending questions out of suspicions of any relationships between him and communist activities.
After reading Pearl’s life story, I could not stop questioning, “Why would have it been so different between Pearl and me?” Despite of the circumstances, the different attitudes towards immigrants cannot be just explained just by time difference. Then I found out the answer also from the book and the history; many people have fought against discrimination and become pieces that together made the big picture of an equal society. Speaking of “fighting for equality” the first few people that came into my mind are Martin Luther King Jr. or Sojourner Truth as well as Harriet Tubman, but through the book, I got to realize that normal immigrants who lived without being noticed by every person all around the world, were also the people who contributed their lives to fight against discrimination. As they did their best to fit in and make the American Dream come true, they showed Americans that they were same people just like them, who love peace, family, and an optimistic future.
One last thing that I found amazing in the book is the part where Pearl sees opportunity in her daughter Joy’s life through the college education she will be receiving. Pearl and her husband Sam both work hard to let Joy have opportunities that they did not have through receiving education because education means possibility. This has not changed since then, since even nowadays people seek education because the opportunity of education leads to further possibilities of even more opportunities. Putting the painful experiences Pearl and May or even Sam had to face in the back, the author ends the story by alluding to the possibilities Joy will have through college education and thereby connects with my life; the life of “Joy’s” daughter.
“There is no future for a country that does not learn from history (past)” This is a famous saying in Korea that people use to say we must learn from history in order to live properly in the present and this is exactly how I felt after reading and studying the history of immigration. Through the book, I was thankful to learn that because of the hardships that immigrants in history faced, we are able to live in a world where equality and rights exist and it is now our generation’s—Joy’s daughter’s generation’s—duty to end discrimination and provide opportunities for those who seek for it.