Student Spotlight: Interview With Lorenzo Hu
By Jack Wellshlager '18
Question: In general, how has transitioning from China to America been for you?
Lorenzo: I came to the US last year and I finished 8th grade here after already finishing it in China. I had to do it again in the US because of the language problem; students from abroad usually stay in the same grade for one year. I’m the age of a sophomore but that year set me back. I was going to a school in Silver Spring, Maryland before Severn, where I was staying with another host family
What was changing host families like? Was it difficult having to adjust to another host family?
Last year’s host family experience was not the best. My first host family was a Vietnamese family that barely spoke English, so there wasn’t very good communication. The second host family, which I switched to during the winter of my 8th grade year here, were very busy at work all the time, so I had to get dinner and other things done by myself. My current host family is pretty much perfect. They make dinner, they take me shopping, they have activities to do over the weekend. They also have another student at this school.
What are some things that you prefer from China in comparison to things from America?
The food. In general, food in China tastes better and there is a greater diversity. America is interesting, though, because you have Mexican food like tacos that I’ve never tried before. “Chinese food” here is very Americanized so I don’t really like it.
Other than Mexican food, what are some things that you prefer in American over China?
Living here is a little bit different because we are in a bit of a rural region. Where I come from is very urban and people live in apartments. The environment here is a lot better and there are more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. For example, right now I’m living near a park, and I wouldn’t have dreamed of that in China.
How is school different in America from back in China?
My school back in China wasn’t really a typical Chinese school, my school was what we call a foreign language school. We focused more on English and other languages, so most people there are preparing for study abroad. It’s very different from the traditional education system. The homework right now is a lot less than in China, but typical Chinese schools are actually a lot worse because you get a lot of work to do and they take your vacations. They’ll take one month off of your summer vacation and make it a “camp” that’s basically a summer school.
When you first arrived did you find it difficult to adjust to American life?
At first, yeah. The first year is always tough. To me and to my other friends from China the first year was tough because you have to adapt to American habits. School gives you a lot more room for mistakes since teachers won’t always remind you of the work you need to do. Also, since we are in more of a rural region here, it’s much less convenient. We have to drive everywhere instead of just walking.
Has Snapchat helped you with getting to know people around school? I know that you’re a big fan
Oh yeah, snapchat helped me a lot for this year, but not last year. My school last year was tiny, we had 15 or 20 people in one grade and people there didn’t really use snapchat. Here we use it a lot more and as a bigger school it’s more fun. There are still many people I don’t even know who are in my friend list.
Have you stayed in touch with family and friends from China?
Of course, what I do is FaceTime my grandparents and my parents every weekend unless they are busy. We also send messages to each other throughout the week. It’s a good way of keeping in touch unless there are problems with the connection.
Overall, do you see your experience coming from China and learning here as valuable?
Yes for sure. The Chinese education is more likely to be preparation for tests, so you learn and then they make you remember the methods. In math class we would just learn equations to use on the test and never learn why any of them worked. You don’t really learn to think if you’re learning the way they teach in China, so this has been a welcome change.
Who wants to be the next interview subject for Student Spotlight? If you know of a Severn student with an interesting story to tell, please let us know!