Living the Life in Los Angeles as an International Student

By: Hannah Becker, F-1 Private School Placement Program Assistant

Recently the Greenheart Chicago office welcomed two of our F-1 international students, Apitsama and Jutatip from Thailand. These lovely twin sisters stopped by during their Spring Break trip to Chicago and we were so fortunate to speak with them about their experience spending their senior year at Heritage Christian School in Los Angeles, California. They’ve had a very successful year in school and cherish the many wonderful experiences they’ve had with their host families. Read about their experience below and find out what what they’ll be doing after high school in the U.S.

Question: Tell me about your experience studying at Heritage Christian School?

J: The teachers care about international students a lot. In the classrooms it’s less than 20 students, so the teacher’s always take care of us. They ask us some questions, when we don’t understand they explain about it to us.

A: They have an international students group and they have some events for the international students, so we can talk and share experiences. And the school is smaller, so every student gets to know each other.

Question: How is it different from your school in Thailand?

J: After school they have baseball games, volleyball, and other activities. At our school in Thailand we don’t have that. When we’re done with school we go home. For schools over here [in the U.S.] they have so many activities to do after school. Also, some classes like Math Class or English class, the teachers stay after school and the students can come over and ask questions about things they don’t understand.

A: We always try to stay after school to do homework. If we don’t understand a question we can go to the teacher and they’ll help us.

Question: How has you education at HCS prepared you for your future?

J: When we first got here we only spoke a little English, so it was hard for us to speak in class and learn how to write. When we get here many classes help us, like for English class we learned about how to write essays. I’ve been back to Thailand to take the exam for college. It’s essay based, so I have to write three or four pages. I asked my English teacher to help me prepare. I would write essays that I thought would be on the exam, and he would correct my writing. Then, I took the exam and I got accepted.

Question: How are the classes different than in Thailand and how has that impacted you?

J: The classes in Thailand, they’re big. In our classroom it’s 50 students, and all students they’re shy. They don’t raise their hand when they have some questions. Here when the teacher asks if you have some questions, the students who don’t understand will raise their hand.

A: It’s totally different here. It’s made us more open. We want to raise our hand, we’re not shy anymore.

Apitsma will be continuing her education in the U.S. next year. She decided to remain in California because “the people are so nice here”. She will be studying business management and one day would to like to take over running her father’s hotel.

Jutatip will be returning to Thailand next year to pursue a degree in communication and multi-media. She feels like she will have a huge advantage over her fellow Thai students because of her advanced ability in English.