GBHS says hello to classmates from foreign countries

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 Three new Granite Bay High School students are experiencing all different kinds of  “new” this year – including learning about a new country by living in it.

  This year, Granite Bay High School is providing education for transfer students from all different backgrounds.

  GBHS junior Dan McCourt transferred in July from Sullivan Upper School in Northern Ireland.

  “My father got a new job here as a pastor at Bayside (Church),” McCourt said.

   He prefers this school to his old school because, for one thing, he thinks GBHS has less healthy food than at Sullivan Upper, which he sees as  a benefit. Also, his old school required the students to wear a uniform.

  “Back home, we would have been wearing blazers, shirts and ties,” McCourt said. “Here, it’s your own clothes. It’s quite nice.”

  He finds the entire atmosphere here different.

   “It’s quite relaxed, not very uptight,” McCourt said. “Back home, everything was a lot stricter, a lot more formal. It’s … a friendly atmosphere.”

  However one challenging adjustment for McCourt is the curriculum.

  “Normal classes here are slightly behind some stuff in Britain,” McCourt said. “But then your AP classes are a higher standard. It’s work, but it’s a very good standard of curriculum.”

  So far, other students have been friendly and helpful when showing him to his classes.

  GBHS offers a variety of activities for students, but because McCourt has only been here for two months, he hasn’t gotten enough time to really engage in any activities.

   “I haven’t really started anything,” he said. “I went to a school dance, and that was an interesting experience although it was quite sweaty and warm.”

  In addition to McCourt, GBHS has the privilege of hosting another foreign transfer student, Egill Oktosson from Iceland. His parents wanted to see California and get away from the cold country of Iceland. He hopes to stay for at least a year. Coming in as a junior, Oktosson has already secured a possible roster spot on the varsity basketball team.

  “The guys on the basketball team took me in,” Oktosson said. “All the guys are awesome.”

  He has been adjusting well despite the evident language barrier and difference in academic curriculum. He said the school days are longer at GBHS than in his old school, Gardasskoli.

  “I prefer Gardasskoli because all my friends are there,” Oktosson said.

  Vincent Cheung, from Shanghai, China, just moved to America six weeks ago and has already been taking on AP and honors-level classes. And as if moving to a different country and settling in isn’t hard enough, Cheung moved here alone and is living apart from his family, which is back in Shanghai.

  “I am an American citizen,” Cheung said. “I was born in San Francisco. It’s natural for me to come back.”

  The 6,000-mile distance between GBHS and Qibao International School is also reflective of differences in the curriculum.

  “In China, the teacher comes to our class,” Cheung said. “We meet the same classmates all day.”

  Similar to McCourt and Oktosson, Cheung feels welcome and accepted here at GBHS.

  “It was the first day I (came) here, and just in two classes, I (had) made several friends that (made) me feel welcome,” Cheung said.

 

  Despite only being here for a month, Cheung has already participated in countless school activities such as the first football game and the Decades Dance.

  “How about that Tribe?” Cheung said. “I love the Tribe.”

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