Years attended FAIS: 2005-2014
High School: Lincoln High School
College: Gap year
Career aspirations: Business
How has FAIS prepared you for high school, college, and beyond?
From the challenging curriculum to the amount of homework in Middle School (perhaps more than my last two years of high school), I already knew how to successfully manage the workload so I could also pursue new experiences and passions outside of school. For me, it was sports, but I’ve seen friends from FAIS participate in singing competitions, Constitution teams, and more. Secondly, the teachers at FAIS were always friendly and open to helping, even after class hours. Though I didn’t always take advantage of it, that opportunity isn’t as readily available in high school.
The FAIS community was so proud to follow your journey during the 2018 Winter Olympics! Would you share a little about the process and what you've learned from the experience?
There have been many lessons learned from my trip to the Olympics and sports in general, which is why I believe that it’s such a key part of a person’s development. The largest thing I would say I’ve learned is how to overcome opposition and challenges. Things don’t always go as planned, no matter what you’re doing. But learning how to improvise and adjust has become a daily skill that is applicable everywhere. A second skill I’ve begun learning is how to cope with pressure to perform. Skiing in the Olympics was an eye-opening moment, and it’s rare to feel the kinds of stress that I did before competing. Learning a routine and how my brain functions competitively have been key for executing my plan and skiing my best.
How many languages do you speak? How have you put them to use?
Currently, I speak French and English, though I took another two years of Chinese after attending Middle School. I continued to take French throughout high school, and most often I’ve used it when talking to strangers I meet while traveling. It’s a nice skill to have, especially with how common it is outside of the US.
What long-term benefits do you feel you've gained from a language immersion education?
I feel it was a really good opportunity to learn a second language at a young age. Language begins to open up your worldview, working as a gateway to see and experience other cultures. It's very easy to focus your life on only what happens in your immediate surroundings, ignoring the vast amount of other things that are constantly happening. Secondary languages also give children an additional method to connect with other people. There are numerous occasions where you happen to run into someone who speaks the same language, and it's always a pleasant experience.
Where do you envision yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I envision myself competing in another Winter Olympics in four years. Academically, I will be just finishing college in five years, due to taking a gap year before attending university. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’ll choose as a major in the end, but am curious to see where I end up.
What are some of your fondest memories of your time at FAIS?
My favorite memory at FAIS would have to be my 8th grade trip to China, simply due to how fun it was to travel to a foreign country with my classmates and teacher. Many laughs were shared and there was never a dull moment, between wandering Chinese markets and seeing live pandas. Another significant experience was my 5th grade trip to France. It was my first exchange program. After hosting a student for two weeks earlier that year, I was excited to trade roles. I remember arriving in France and eating cereal with warm milk (not the most pleasant thing), but it was a small example of how cultures and styles differ between countries. Getting to live the daily life of someone in France wasn't something that I fully appreciated at the time. But now I see how lucky I was to do it at such a young age.
If someone were to ask you why FAIS is special, what would you tell them?
Not many places are oriented like FAIS. I would say the international focus and size of the school are its most special qualities. The class sizes are small, allowing for close relationships with both teachers and fellow students. Being an immersion school makes FAIS unique from the beginning, highlighting that there is more in the world than your immediate surroundings like other general public schools often forget. Throughout Lower School and Middle School, the language classes are meant to prepare students for their trips to China, France, Spain, or wherever is chosen. Those trips are an eye-opening experience for the kids, but also a chance to test the proficiency of their language skills. Lastly, the learning at the school is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile, which is comprised of traits that competent adults possess and utilize each day to be successful. FAIS' teachings strive to guide children along that path, further helping their maturity as they grow up.