DeWitt Tianyi “Edward” Qiao is only a junior in high school, but already he’s well versed in the art of studying abroad.
Even so, the Beijing native is thankful to be one of six international students enrolled at Christian Brothers Academy in DeWitt this year.
“We are not very familiar with the school, so we help each other,” said Qiao, who started at CBA this fall after spending last year at a school in Spokane, Wash.
CBA typically has two to three international students in a year, said Holly Dowd, director of admissions, who happens to be Quiao’s host parent. She said the higher number has been two years in the making; some students learned about CBA at educational fairs in China, where CBA was represented, while others found the school online.
“We feel they add an additional dimension of cultural diversity to our student body of 750 students,” Dowd said. “This year we were fortunate to have five Chinese students, and a young lady from Thailand, enroll.”
The students are exceptionally bright, and are focused on graduating from CBA so that they can further their education at American colleges, Dowd said.
“They are eager to join in CBA activities and will soon be starting a Mandarin and Chinese culture club at school,” she said. “We were very selective in the application process, and received many applications to choose from.”
Qiao is a practicing member of the varsity soccer team, where he said he’s making new friends fast, and plans to join the swim team in the winter.
He said he’s focused on succeeding in school, which will require working through some of the more challenging classes like Anatomy and Physiology.
“I’m trying to do my best school work and make more friends,” he said. “Just trying to have a good experience in America, that is my hope for this year.”
So far, his experience has been a good one — thanks to a warm Central New York welcome and host parents that treat him “as their real son,” he said.
“People are kind here, they are oh very helpful,” Qiao said. “I just can feel they are very nice people around Syracuse.”
They’ve even been kind enough to warn him about all the snow he can expect to see fairly soon.
“They say there is lots of snow, so I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
Ned Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.