Did you know that of the 1,742 students who attended Stuart in the 2012-2013 school year, only 1080 were born in the United States? What about that 1,217 Stuart students’ first language is a language other than English? Of these Raiders, a countless number of them have gone to school outside of the United States, leaving them with a unique outlook on life, education and the world as a whole.
In 2010, senior Clara Del Piano moved with her family from Annandale to Puerto Rico for her father’s job. For her freshman and sophomore year, Del Piano went to Wesleyan Academy, right outside San Juan. After finishing up her sophomore year in Puerto Rico, Del Piano and her family moved back into the area and she enrolled at Stuart.
Having spent half of her high school career in Puerto Rico and the other half in the United States, Del Piano has had the high school experience in both countries. “Puerto Rico is [academically] harder,” said Del Piano. “There aren’t different level classes, so if you aren’t good at a certain class, you can’t take an easier level; you just have to work harder.”
School in the United States also has its benefits. “I like that the classes are more separated from younger kids [because my old high school was pre-k through twelfth grade],” replied Del Piano. “And [I like] that you can pick your own classes,”
In comparison to the students at the large, private school in Guaynabo, they seemed to be more hard working. “Kids in Puerto Rico are more motivated, and usually did their homework,” said Del Piano. “And they never skipped.”
Freshman went to school in Turkey for sixth grade. She echoed Del Piano’s thoughts on students’ behavior, “they were very proper in Turkey,” said Labor. “If you disrespect a teacher you directly go to the principal’s office.”
One aspect of the American school system Labor prefers is the amount of freedom. “All students wear uniforms [in Turkey], even the public school kids,” said Labor.
Not only have our students been to schools in other countries, but also our teachers. Chemistry and Biology teacher Jennifer Forney taught in China from 2003- 2011. In her first two years living in China, Forney taught at a Chinese university on the rural area of China, teaching students the English language.
For the next six years, Forney landed a job teaching Biology and Chemistry at an international school. A majority of the students (65%) attending the international school were Asian, while the other 35% were American, Canadian and European. These students attended the international school because their parents had moved to China for their jobs at companies such as Samsung and LG.
Although these students are American and taught American curriculums they still practice Chinese cultures and are even required to take at least two years of Chinese. Students observed both American and Chinese holidays. “We got two weeks off for Christmas and then two weeks off for Chinese New Year,” said Forney.
For the most part Forney hasn’t seen a tremendous difference in the behavior or work ethic between students taught in American and students taught in China. “Students will be students anywhere you go,” said Forney. The only notable difference Forney saw was the amount of pressure students faced. Chinese schools systems do not have students take test like the SAT or the ACT; instead, every student is required to take a college entry exam to determine what college they will attend the following year. “A family’s honor depends on the exam,” said Forney. “Chinese students have been preparing for this test their entire high school career.”
All in all an education is an education anywhere you go. Many Stuart students hope to have the opportunity to study outside the United States and become cultured through a foreign school system. “Someday I would love to go to another country and study there,” said senior Mohamed Soliman. “Germany is really modernized and one of the top engineering countries in the world which would have a lot of great opportunities.”