From Beijing to Kirby: Through the lens of one of Kirby’s international exchange students


By Evan Hong, 12th Grade

I still remember when I walked into Kirby for the first time. I was surprised by how many cool classes fit under one roof. Dr. Karter took me through the building, left turn, right turn, into the photo dark room, the music studio, book arts room, and through Ms. Olsen’s room with couches and decorated walls. Walking through Kirby for the first time, I witnessed more excitement and surprises than when just viewing the website.

Kirby is known for its strong academics, high standards and unique curriculum. At the same time, students don’t compete with each other in the way they do at other schools I have been to. I get a chance to take some downright cool classes that I probably would not have a chance to take elsewhere, such as Book Arts, Audio Engineering and Video. These subjects are what I am passionate about, and relate to my dream career, which will hopefully be in the film industry. I feel quite lucky to have this opportunity to learn through hands-on experience and experimentation.

Being far from home isn’t easy. I came here with nothing, no friends and no knowledge of what I was about to jump into. But I’m still glad that I chose Kirby. At Kirby I met my friends, people I can talk to regardless of our race, age or background. This is a safe place with no judgments or discriminations, and I feel as though I can share my vulnerabilities. Kirby is a small community that has a diverse student body. During the first day of school, I saw kids with smiles, instead of grumpy attitudes. This is the warmest, most harmonious learning environment I have been a part of. I have never had such tight bonds with my classmates and teachers before.

For the first time, I feel like life can be full of activities in addition to studying. Bonfires. School plays. Halloween dances. Chorus.

There are also so many sports that we can choose to participate in at Kirby. I joined the Girls Basketball team last year, and have a great memory of being part of a team. It felt like a family away from home for me.

After I graduate from Kirby, I’ll attend college in the U.S., and hopefully find a career that fits my interests. I can never thank Kirby enough for how much I’ve gained.