Student Feature: Discovering Faith, Developing Friendships
Tommy, Grade 10
For International Week at the Upper School, we wanted to share real stories of international students within our own PCA family. Tommy is an international student from China and has developed his faith, friendships, and interests during his time at PCA. Read his story below, originally in English, translated to his native language in Mandarin Chinese.
“If I didn’t come here, first of all, and probably the biggest, I would not be a Christian. Because I didn’t know about God before I came here. But we had bible classes and I started knowing about God.“
How did you come to PCA?
I came to the Open House at PCA about six years ago. It‘s been a pretty long time, but I think this is a pretty good school. Right after I graduated my lower school [elementary school] in China, I decided to come here, to PCA. And when I came here, I found that everything worked out fine for me; everything’s nice, the teachers are nice. I have a couple of friends who have stuck with me ever since 7th grade.
So you came here in 7th grade?
Yeah, in 7th grade.
So how was that transition from middle school to high school?
It’s been good. People are relaxing [easygoing] here. If you ask teachers questions, the teachers will answer you. You can get extra help from the teachers, from your classmates, and your friends too. So, it’s not quite hard with the help from the friends and the teachers.
When you came here in 7th grade, you stayed with a host family, right? Was that part of the transition hard?
Actually, not really. Because the host families treat you as one of their kids, like you’re the same. They’re like your second parents here. It’s actually a pretty good experience. You can ask your host family for help if you have any troubles – not just on studies, but if you have any trouble with your life, for example.
So they really took care of you!
What about the PCA community, do you feel like it’s grown you as a person? What specifically do you think would be different if you never came to PCA?
Yeah, because the PCA community also improved faith in God for me. I became a Christian when I came here. And people are nice. I made a couple friends, and like I said, who have been my friends since 7th grade.
If I didn’t come here, first of all, and probably the biggest, I would not be a Christian. Because I didn’t know about God before I came here. But we had bible classes and I started knowing about God.
And second, because at PCA you can choose clubs for yourself, I can make many interesting studies and try to improve myself as a better person. And PCA doesn’t just have classes like Math or English, but they have other courses like photography or engineering. They’re not just improving your skills for studying, but abilities for other areas that you may be interested in too.
That’s really encouraging to hear. It really sounds like PCA has done a lot to shape you as a person. Is there anything else you would want to share about your PCA experience?
Oh, I think the trip in 8th grade to Washington was pretty nice. And we have college tours every year for international students! It’s actually really nice, some extra time for you to get to know America better, and know about American history and people; it helps integrate [and immerse] you into the group.
“…PCA doesn’t just have classes like Math or English, but they have other courses like photography or engineering. They’re not just improving your skills for studying, but abilities for other areas that you may be interested in too. “