• Middle School
Learning More at Country

by Stoney Xu, 8th Grade International Student

It was a hard decision to come to America and attend The Country School, but I believe that my experience has been worth letting go of everything I had in China to start a new life here. I still remember the day I left. It was like any other trip I’ve made alone, yet it would be longer than any trip I have ever had. My parents were by the inspection entrance, looking at me, waving. I looked back, and waved back. Honestly, I didn’t feel nervous, or scared – all I felt was excitement, the excitement of stepping into a whole new different life. It was not until two days later that I realized that I left my parents, my friends, my beloved cats… I was stunned, and at the same time, hollow.

Soon, in this vast emptiness, I came to my first day at Country.

The newly paved circle, shadowy trees, kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers. It is just such a beautiful place. For the first time, I entered the DeFrancis Gymnasium. I was there for orientation with my host mom. There I met my fellow classmates for the first time. They just walked up to me and started comparing height with me. I was really surprised, confused, and also happy. Surprised by how they just walked up to me and started asking questions, confused by their weird focus, and happy about them not having any stereotypes about Chinese people and confronting me with questions. No, it came much more easily. I guess that’s the privilege of a small community school – it is easy to get to know someone since everyone is nice and friendly. They treat me like no other, well, except for what I know about China and my culture.

I officially started my life at the Country School on September 5. After I finally got to take part in the actual classrooms and not just look at school profiles; it opened up a whole new world for me. It has been an amazing experience involving project based classroom and discussion based classrooms. I still recall the education I received in China; yes, they did teach us how to take in facts, how to answer questions, and how to get all the points on a test. Yet what we didn’t learn was how to question, how to think outside the box, how to use the knowledge we have to face practical, everyday problems. I may have been well prepared academically in China, but there is still more to learn here. 

The fascinating fact about The Country School is that freedom within limits inspires us more. At Country, my creativity and curiosity are benefitted the most. I seek answers, but not just only know how to write out answers or get them “right.” I make them, I prove them, I present them. I believe these research and DO-IT-MYSELF skills will benefit me for the rest of my life.