Student Spotlight: Chocola Liu

A picture Chocola took when she was in Hong Kong. She arranged the lighting and angle of the picture

Chocola Liu

A picture Chocola took when she was in Hong Kong. She arranged the lighting and angle of the picture

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

Since the beginning of in person school this semester, many students, new and old, have been adapting to campus life. One student in particular had to get used to this new school year way more, and her name is Chocola Liu. Chocola just transferred to YLHS last week as a sophomore, meaning this year is her first year of high school in a completely new country with a completely new education system. There are many changes she needed to make in just a week because she didn’t actually attend school during the first two weeks, and it is our job as a mustang family to make her feel safe and welcomed.

Chocola was born in Hong Kong and went to school at the International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School in Kowloon. She had lived in Hong Kong for most of her life until her parents decided to move to the US. Chocola had studied English since kindergarten so getting used to the language wasn’t the biggest problem. The main problem she faced was getting used to the culture and the different style of teaching.

One of the biggest differences is the educational style. In Chocola’s old school, everything was taught with textbooks, and the teachers only taught in the lecture style. She noticed that most of her teachers in YLHS use many different teaching styles to try to make the classes more engaging to the students. Chocola had been used to going to lectures and bringing dozens of books to school each day, so she found it a little strange that in this school, teachers rarely teach with textbooks. On top of using the textbooks everyday, her school also required everyone to buy their own books since their school didn’t have a library. According to Chocola, she had to spend more than 400 dollars per year on just her lecture books alone.

Another big change was the campus size as well as walking to class. YLHS is a much larger school and there aren’t any lockers besides sports lockers, so students have to carry all of their things while walking around campus. In her old school, they had a home room all the way up to high school. Students would put their backpacks in their home rooms and only take what they needed for each specific class. After the class, they would go back to their home rooms and take out the supplies for the next class. There wasn’t a lot of walking required since the campus was so small, and the classrooms were pretty much right next to each other. Chocola was not used to carrying around a heavy backpack in a gigantic campus for six hours.

On top of that, Chocola also noticed that the overall atmosphere of YLHS was so different from her old school. Generally, Chinese schools had a lot of rules. The general idea was that school was extremely serious and that the students didn’t go to have fun. She had to wear uniforms and wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. In YLHS, the atmosphere was way more casual and friendly since all Chocola had to do was follow some self explanatory rules and dress codes which are basically second nature. Another thing that was noticeable was that in America, students talked to their teachers like they were friends, and some would even call them by their nicknames. This kind of thing would never happen in China because in most of Asia, people value the concept of respecting people who are older than you and more knowledgeable than you. Chocola was surprised to see so many students greet their teachers informally and refer to them without adding a “mister” or “miss” before their names. In Hong Kong, students were required to formally say “good morning”, “goodbye”, and “thank you” or else it would be considered extremely rude. 

Overall, Chocola thinks YLHS is a very friendly environment that is easy to adapt to since people are generally so nice. She had already made new friends easily within the first week, and that was all thanks to the students being kind and helpful. One word of advice that Chocola Liu (10) wants to give to other transfer students is, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you are confused about.” It is important for the returning students of YLHS to be open to questions and make these new students feel welcome as the school year officially begins.