The Californian

Students go international for school

Brittnay Jimena, Opinions Editor

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As the school year comes to an end, several students have been accepted into prestigious colleges and honorable programs. 

Recently, there has been a push toward studying abroad to create an immersive, unique experience that a student wouldn’t otherwise just gain from a campus in the United States. 

Cal High has four students going overseas next year for college: Michelle Hughes, Jonas Garces, Daniel Pan and Richard Wang.

Senior Michele Hughes will be attending New York University Abu Dhabi, which is located in the United Arab Emirates on Saadiyat Island. 

She plans to major in general engineering with an emphasis on biomedical and health systems in the fall. 

 “It is an American University located abroad, so it comes with all the accreditation I would need to move back home and find work with the added bonus of studying abroad in a melting pot of people from all over the globe,” Hughes said. 

Like Hughes had noted, Abu Dhabi is a very diverse campus, with students attending from more than 100 different countries. It is most well known for its small class sizes, individual attention, and tight-knit community.

During the application process, she visited the campus through a program called Candidate Weekend. While on campus, she had the opportunity to learn about their programs, tour the campus, and interact with world-renowned faculty. 

Out of all school’s redeeming qualities, she most enjoys the unique atmosphere and the people there.

“There is a spark of passion in everyone that makes the campus come alive,”said Hughes.

As for choosing her major, Hughes focused on finding a major that coincides with what she enjoys learning and her senior year internship through iQuest with Shanna Gagnon. 

Although she will enter undeclared for her first two years, she has a pretty good foundation and idea for what she would like to do in the future. 

In addition to a small campus that is half the size of Cal High, Hughes is looking forward to lots of traveling during her undergraduate years there. 

“It’s a branch of the NYU campus, so I could study in New York or any satellite campuses for a semester or a year,” Hughes said.

A fairly new campus that has around for about five years, NYU Abu Dhabi as produced 10 Rhodes Scholars, widely considered to be one of the world’s mosy prestigious scholarships.

Pan will be attending the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and majoring in directing.  

“Due to the nature of the film industry in Hong Kong, it really seemed like the best option for me,” said Pan, who is one of The Californian’s photo editors.

When deciding whether to focus his applications toward mainland China or Hong Kong, Pan set his eyes upon Hong Kong. 

Due to the diverse democratic environment in Hong Kong in comparison to China, there is a wider variety of films in the industry.

“Mainland China film is subject to censoring because of its Communist ideals, so all the focus is solely on film from China, unlike Hong Kong which will also focus on foreign films,” said Pan.

For much of high school, Pan thought little of attending college after high school until he started to explore attending schools abroad in China. 

After the UC deadline had passed and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts deadline was two weeks away, he hastily started the application process. 

For the application process, Pan was required to write four essays on pen and paper, two of which were English and the other two in Chinese. 

As for the interview, he was presented with a short snippet of a film, in which he was required to answer questions about it.

“I will be entering the academy with a small language barrier,” Pan said. “I am fluent in Mandarin, but the classes are taught in Cantonese. I speak Mandarin at home and I know only a little bit of Cantonese, enough to get by.” 

But Pan couldn’t pass up such an amazing opportunity to be learning and becoming a part of one of the most booming film industries in the world right now.

Pan’s interest in film spurred from a disinterest with general school classes and turned into a huge passion that has driven him to study aborad. 

“I wanted to do more than just academia and I did not want to make a living with a repetitive career,” Pan said. “I had a camera, why not film some things?”

Wang is also going to China and will be attending Tsinghua University in Beijin, where he will be majoring in computer sciences.

“China is a very technological based country.” said Wang, “so going international would have better options for me.” 

Garces is going to Germany and will be attending University of Hamburg. 

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Students go international for school