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The Milton Measure

Students Reflect on School Year Abroad Experiences

by Iladro Sauls on Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Every year the renowned School Year Abroad (SYA) program chooses a few students from Milton to participate in one of four international educational opportunities. For one full school year, students can travel to China, France, Italy, or Spain to study and grow in a foreign country. The Milton Measure had the opportunity to speak with Terry Lee (I), who is currently at SYA China, and Julia Iansiti (II), who is currently taking part in SYA Spain.

Terry Lee, SYA China:

The Milton Measure: What was the application process like?

Terry Lee: The application process for SYA is like any other. You have to clearly state why you want to join the program and state your passion for the language or willingness to take risks in a new environment. Aside from the logistical information, a couple of short answer questions and a personal statement in the form of an essay.

TMM: What is your living arrangement like?

TL: I applied for the most ‘genuine’ Chinese home. My house is not lavish, some may feel uncomfortable. However, I am actually very happy with my family, for this is exactly what I asked for. The food I eat everyday is home-cooked. I will definitely cherish the connection I make with my family. It depends on each student, but I communicate with my family in Chinese very often, thus it helps me with my Chinese greatly. Regardless of your level, host family is a great way to accelerate your learning in Chinese.

TMM: What are your academic classes like?

TL: English and Chinese History classes are discussion based around a round table, like Milton. They use texts that are related to Chinese history or culture. My Chinese class (Chinese 6) does a lot of group projects, including debates, group presentations, and filming projects, all in Chinese.

TMM: For seniors, how does the college application process work at SYA?

TL: The college counselor keeps the students posted with each of their college processes, and helps you schedule the tests or interviews. Writing the applications, taking the SAT and AP are the students’ responsibility though. Many might feel that the college process could be tricky from Beijing, but basically, it’s not much different than from Milton or any other school.

TMM: What sorts of activities do you participate in besides academics at SYA?

TL: I often visit foreign embassies on Thursdays to listen to the lectures/forums by renowned professors or professionals that are offered by the Beijing International Society. On weekends, [a] group of friends and I visit historical sites or cultural sites of Beijing. Since we don’t really have a campus, I feel more obliged to explore.

TMM: What advice would you give to future participants in SYA from Milton?

TL: Know that it is not easy, but also know that it is a lot of fun. It all depends on you.

TMM: How does your experience at SYA supplement/complement your Milton experience?

TL: They are two very different schools. I personally feel that it is a great opportunity to experience both. Aside from the academic achievements, SYA led me to face challenges and deal with them. I became more decisive, independent, and confident.

Julia Iansiti, SYA Spain:

TMM: What is your living arrangement like?

Julia Iansiti: I live with a host mom, dad, and two host sisters. They are all amazing and I love them to death.

TMM: Were you in contact with any of your SYA peers before you met them in person?

JI: Only a little bit on Facebook, but I didn’t really know anyone except Alex [Haynok (II) also on SYA Spain] before I came.

TMM: How have you adapted to only speaking the language of the country you are in?

JI: It was very hard at first, but the way the program is run and the classes are taught helps a lot. Everyone is in the same boat, so we all help out.

TMM: What types of academic classes are you currently taking?

JI: I take English and Math in English, and then I take Journalism, Mediterranean Art, The History of Spanish Cinema, and Spanish Language in Spanish.

TMM: What advice would you give to future participants in SYA from Milton?

JI: It’s an amazing experience, but you also have to be really dedicated to immersing yourself in the language and culture.

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Posted by Iladro Sauls on Feb 22 2013. Filed under News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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