Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School Days

My husband's business associate in China has sent his daughter to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art. We went yesterday to pick her up at the airport and help her get situated in her new school. She is 18 years old, and newly graduated from High school. Wow, I would be nervous to send my 18 year old daughter to a big city in another country!

I kind of wonder if the Academy advertises heavily in China, because there were a lot of students who have come from China. I think one draw for them is that there is open enrollment. But it costs about $700 per unit, so it's surprising that so many come!

The campus is downtown San Francisco, but the dorms are in another area. They have shuttles that take the students back and forth. There is also a dining hall somewhere near the dorms. I never did see it. There are buildings scattered all over the down town area.

I think the parents of these students are unaware of the culture in San Francisco. They are looking at the world through their own paradigm "spectacles", and automatically assume that San Francisco is like any big city where they live. They don't know about the panhandlers and dangers that might exist in the city. These students come having no idea which areas of the city to avoid. They do speak English, but it is an adjustment for them to learn the accent used here, and also the slang. Even though the school does try to help them stay contained on campus, there are no guarantees that the students won't go exploring in the city and end up in trouble. They are, by and large, naive and ignorant of the dangers that exist in SF life.

While I applaud their desire to send their children to a good school, I have to say that I don't know if I could send my teenage daughter alone half way across the world to college! What about you? Would you feel comfortable doing this?


Grannymar said...

I began preparing my child for export when she was in primary/junior school. Thirty years ago Northern Ireland was not a very good place to live. When adults left for work or children went to school, there was no guarantee that they would return at the end of the day.

Elly left for university in Scotland at the age of eighteen. Her grandmother had died six weeks earlier and her dad had terminal cancer, he died 18 months later.

It was a difficult year, we had no mobile phones and communication was by snail mail or to a communal phone in the Halls of Residence. She made some very good friends who stood by her and helped her through. It also taught her to stand on her own two feet and now she holds down a very responsible job, making major decisions about the the work involved and the people on her team.

Travel is education and it breaks down barriers. I only wish that I had the same opportunity at 18.

Stick said...

YOUR daughter is not much older, and half way around the world, in a strange culture, and she went with minimal knowledge of the language originally. Do you regret letting her go? Similar circumstances, different perspective. :o)

Delirious said...

Well Stick, I think the circumstances are much different than you think. My daughter is 5 years older than this girl, and to me that is substantial. She also is not alone. She has a companion who is with her 24 hours a day, and a mission president, and several young men missionaries who keep an eye on her. This young girl is barely out of high school, and comes from a very protected culture. She has been dropped in San Francisco, which is a very different, and more dangerous one which she left. She also is basically alone, and unaccustomed to taking care of herself. She is very unprepared for some of the things she will experience in the big city! :)