Zihan Z., better known as “Dido,” is a resident of Shanghai, located in the Western part of China with a population of 25,000,000. Dido attended a boarding school in the city, where she enjoyed studying Japanese and English, plus visual arts. She also played underwater hockey.
Being close to her parents, Dido spent weekends at home in the city’s suburbs. Dido’s Dad is an independent architect, and her Mother is a free lance public relations specialist. Dido likes to spend time with her family because they have so many interests. They love to travel, and have been to many places around the world. Dido’s most-liked place to go is Japan where her favorite “J-Pop” band, “Hey Say Jump” resides.
Dido joins HIA as a visual art student, and appreciates that there are so many choices in art. She says, “it’s so much fun to study art in the afternoons.” HIA is appealing to her because everyone at the school knows each other really well. With the opportunity to explore and be independent, Dido is happy to be in America. She also savors American food, and gets to try many new restaurants with her host family. The thing she misses about Shanghai is public transportation. Dido plans to enjoy her year here, and come back to America in the future.
Luca H., comes to HIA from Saarerucken, Germany, a town of 1,200 near the French border. He attended high school in his small town where he says “soccer is everything,” and added, “soccer is also everything to Germany.” To no surprise, Luca plays on a competitive soccer team and is also on a table tennis team. Luca has studied violin since he was 8 years old, and played in a city orchestra with his older brother, with whom he has a close relationship.
Luca’s Dad works at a medical company, and his Mom is a diploma biologist. His family loves to ski in the French Alps when they spend time together.
Luca is joining HIA in the music program to continue his studies in violin. He is impressed that everything is bigger in America, and he finds the small differences an adventure, such as the look of our traffic signs. He says, “people are very friendly and happy here.” Luca likes the family atmosphere at HIA and appreciates the support for exchange students to not only share experiences with each other, but with getting adjusted in America. Luca looks forward to his family coming to visit at the end of the school year.
Alizee A., is from French Reunion Island, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. Even though French Reunion is part of France, is it near China, and there are many Chinese people living on the island. At home Alizee attended a public school of 1000 students, and is a dancer. Alizee studies traditional Chinese dance, performing in the long, flowing skirts illustrative of the traditional costume. She is also a Jazz dancer and a rhythmic gymnast.
Living on an island, Alizee spent a lot of time in the water, and water sports have always been a part of her life.
The youngest in her family, Alizee has one older brother, and one older sister. She is enjoying being part of a host family in America and likes her life outside of school spending time with them. It’s especially fun to have host siblings who have artistic interests.
As a 10th grader at HIA, Alizee is continuing her dance studies. She likes the small class sizes at HIA, and is impressed with the good relationships within the school community. She states that; “this school is very special because of the depth in relationships at HIA.” Alizee wants to come back to America after her exchange is over.
Pierre M., is from Paris, France where he lived in an apartment near Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur and attended public school. The oldest of four, Pierre has three little sisters, and therefore, welcomes the experience of living with a host family of three boys. Pierre’s Mom is a law teacher, and his Dad is an administrator of a contemporary art museum in Paris.
An enthusiast of athletic pursuits, playing rugby and basketball, in France, Pierre is now mountain biking and hiking with his host family. He finds that it’s interesting to see the differences in America, no matter how small, such as all the franchise restaurants, and the variety in sodas.
Pierre decided to join the exchange program to immerse in English and to experience commerce, a subject he is thinking of studying in college. Pierre is also a piano player and is continuing his studies in piano at HIA.
When Pierre arrived at HIA, he thought, “What is this? A school so small!” Now he says there are many advantages in being in a school that’s like a big family.
The one thing Pierre misses about Paris is the food, but is is also passionate about America.
Our International Students
Zihan Z. ("Dido")