Moving to another country, whether it’s the US or the UK for college after years of attending an international school in Asia has its challenges and perks. Whether you were in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan or other countries, you will definitely relate to some of these signs, if not all! Here are 15 signs you went to an international high school in Asia.
1. You friends in college always ask you when you came to America (or Australia, or anywhere).
Before you develop your life-long friendships at college, conversations have to start somewhere when you don’t know anyone. A go-to small talk starter is often “when did you first come to the US?” if you’re an international student. Some of you may have come here for high school, or some of you may have come just for college. Whatever your response is, you’re probably tired of repeating the same thing like a broken record. It’s pretty simple everyone, you go to an international high school in Asia.
2. You when you’re repeating over and over when you came.
Some people may have asked you why you’re so fluent in English. Especially for those of you who lived in Asia your whole life, you may often be questioned why you speak like a native. “Oh, I went to an international school,” you’d reply. But sometimes even that response may not suffice. “When did you start learning English?”, “How do they teach English in [where you live]?” Maybe some of these questions sound familiar too.
3. You are used to the diversity you see on campus in college.
Being in an international school, you are accustomed to seeing and interacting with a variety of ethnicities on campus. Foreign races don’t intimidate you, and you can easily mix and mingle with them. Who knows, maybe your best friend isn’t even the same race as you!
4. You feel extremely excited when you meet someone from your home country and can relate to your pastimes at home.
It always feels good to know there’s someone who grew up in a similar environment as you did. Not only do you have a new friend to talk to about home, you also have someone you can meet up with when you’re back for break.
5. Most of your friends from high school are a plane ride away.
However, some plane rides may be longer than others. It could a short ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, or a slightly longer ride from Atlanta to New York, or a painfully long ride from London to Beijing. Which leads to the next point…
6. You can even group them by different continents.
You can truly say you have friends all over the world! International school students scatter all over the globe, from Asia to Australia, Europe, America and more. Your clique in high school will no longer sit at the same lunch table everyday. Instead, you will be bombarded with text messages from group chats while you’re sleeping and they’re all sending updates during the day.
7. States in the middle of USA are almost non-existent to you.
Just because your friends are scattered everywhere, it doesn’t make you a geography expert. Let’s be honest, most of your friends are probably in the east or west coast, so you don’t know much about the middle of USA. Montana? Where’s that? Is that next to Arkansas? And why is Arkansas pronounced differently from Kansas? Where is Kansas anyways?
8. You’re used to hearing people speak in different languages.
It was probably common for you to hear different languages everywhere in high school. You can probably even identify them pretty easily by now. Are there a group of Indians panicking about the latest cricket game score in front of you? A pair of Korean couple whispering their love for each other behind you? A group of Thai girls gossiping about the latest rumours to your left and a few Filipino jocks talking about how much they bench to your right? By now, these unfamiliar languages no longer sound strange to you.
9. You might even know how to swear in some of them.
Maybe your Japanese best friend (or some other race) has even taught you a few curse words, so that when you go visit them in Japan you will know exactly what not to say!
10. The only times you are legal now are when you visit home.
Most countries in Asia have a legal drinking age of 18, unlike in the US. By the time you head to college, you have probably enjoyed at least a few weeks or months, if not more, of legality. Your parents call you up almost every weekend to remind you not to drink, or else you’ll be expelled. So every break when you visit home, you try to make the best use of your legality.
11. And during the times you visit home, you eagerly try to catch up with as many friends as possible in the short amount of time.
Since you and your long-distance friends are separated for 2/3 of the year, you try to cram as many hang-outs and rendezvous in the short amount of time you are home. Do you only have 3 weeks at home for winter? No problem. That should mean you can meet at least 20 of your high school friends, assuming you take 5 days off from socialising, while some days you can meet with a friend for lunch and another for dinner, and other days you can dedicate the entire day to one friend…
12. You recognise other students in college from high school competitions like SEASAC or APAC.
If you were involved in sports, MUN or other competitions/clubs in high school, you probably traveled to other countries in Asia for tournaments and debates. There, you would have met students from other schools, not just students from the host school, and you may recognize them in college! It’s a small world when you go to an international high school in Asia.
13. You may even have at least a few mutual friends with students from other international schools.
“Oh you went to HKIS? Do you know [insert name here]?”
“Oh yea, she was in my class this one time! Do you know [insert name here] from TAS?”
“Oh my gosh, how do you know him? We were close friends in middle school!”
When these conversations occur and you find out you have mutual friends, you’re both just like
14. When domestic students complain about their 4-hour flights, but you had to endure your long, painful 14-hour flight.
Going and coming back from home is a pain in the butt, literally. Sitting on the plane for 10+ hours is never fun. Your butt gets sore, you get bored on the plane, and the old guy next to you just won’t stop snoring. You’d do anything to trade your long plane ride to the ones your American friends have since you go to an international high school in Asia.
15. You are always jet-lagged when you first return to school.
Switching time zones is never easy as well. During the first few days of classes, it is extra difficult to wake up at 7 am because you couldn’t fall asleep until 4 am the night before. Or maybe you just can’t stop yourself from taking that short 30-minute nap that turns into 3 hours. Oops, I guess it’s okay to skip a class on the first few days right? That’s what it’s like going to international high school in Asia.