Sam & Mike's Excellent Adventure Continues
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 ~ VIETNAM
On Friday, October 26 we boarded a plane and headed to Hanoi, Vietnam. Mr. Hale and I enjoyed dinner with Khai La’s mom and dad and Vu Bui’s father at a lively Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Hanoi. We heard from the parents about how Miller provides their children with not only a rigorous academic program, but also extracurricular opportunities and community service experience. The parents expressed to us the importance of this to the families here in Vietnam.
Tomorrow we attend meetings and a tour of a local high school. After interviews we will head to the airport for our final city - Ho Chi Minh City.
October 23 - 24
Three more cities in three days! The theme was the same: wake up, eat breakfast, drive to a train station or airport, travel to our next destination. As soon as we arrived in the cities, we drove right to a school or a conference hall to meet families and students.
In these three days, I had the great honor to have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Wen in the beautiful, seaside city of Dalian; Kate Zhao’s ‘14 mom in the amazing city of Qingdao (host of the sailing and boating events in the 2008 Olympics); and dinner with Stella Ma’s mother and Vivian Jang’s mom at an incredible restaurant called Canton Palace which is owned and operated by Vivian’s parents in the city of Xi’an. Xi’an is home to the famous Terracotta Warriors. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to visit. I have to return!
Today we traveled by bullet train to a city called Shenyang. The trains are remarkably fast and the ride is very smooth. Upon arrival we attended a educational event at a hotel. Each school gave a quick overview of their school to the numerous families in attendance and then conducted interviews.
Later that afternoon, Mr. Hale and I met up with Eddy Xu’s parents at the hotel. We had a pleasant time catching up and hearing about how Eddy is liking his experience at Miller. Mr. Hale excused himself to attend an evening interview event. Mr. Xu and I went to dinner at a traditional Chinese restaurant. With the help of an interpreter, we were able to communicate and discuss a wide variety of topics from our families to world events.
Mike Drude, Head of School Blog
Friday, October 19
After a thirteen and a half hour flight from Detroit, we landed in Beijing,China. We were whisked away from the airport by our friends from Golden Education who are sponsoring this trip known as an Independent School Road Show. At our hotel, we joined admissions reps from six other schools from across the USA, for an introductory meeting and then dinner. After dinner, Mr. Hale and I met with David Xiao‘s father and his business partner at the hotel. Mr. Xiao appreciated hearing about David and all the wonderful things happening on the Hill! Mr. Xiao lives in Shanghai and traveled four hours by train to meet with us!
Saturday, October 20
We were up early today and boarded two minivans to travel over an hour (we never left Beijing!) to a school called Hyde Academy. The traffic on the highway is incredible. Wall to wall cars -- but we all seemed to be moving along at highway speed!
Hyde’s headmistress, Jennifer Sachs, is from Baltimore, MD. She fell in love with Beijing 27 years ago and never left. The Hyde school is an elementary and middle school ending in he ninth grade. Many of Hyde’s students will study in the U.S. Mr. Hale and I spent the entire morning interviewing prospective students. We were impressed with their English skills and their academic pursuits. Many wish to study in the US for the opportunity to enroll in an American University. They also want opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities like clubs and sports which they feel they do not have as much access to in China.
After a quick bite to eat, we were back at the hotel lobby for additional interviews until about 5:30 p.m.. In all, we met over twenty great students today!
When we completed our interviews, we were met by Mr. and Mrs. Wang, Brian Wang’s (‘18) parents. Bryan is currently studying at NYU. The Wangs’ were kind enough to speak to a few of the prospective students and their parents. They spoke of Brian’s success at Miller and how Miller prepared him well for success at NYU. They even filmed a video so that Golden Education can better market Miller in China. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together.
The day did not end there! After dinner, we checked out of our hotel and caught a plane for Changchun, China. Changchun is considered a small city by Chinese standards. There are only 7.6 million people in Changchun compared to the 22 million people in Beijing! To provide a little perspective, there are 8.6 million people in New York City.
We arrived at the hotel at one in the morning. Off to bed as the interviews begin bright and early Sunday morning at 9 a.m.!
Sunday, October 21
Today we visited with several amazing students from Changchun, China.
Prior to meeting with the students, each school had the opportunity to speak to the families and introduce our schools. I spoke to the families about Miller’s mission of providing opportunities for discovery and reflection and stressed the point that in addition to providing a rigorous academic program, amazing after-school art, theater, and athletic programs, and opportunities to participate in clubs and activities, Miller is a school where all students are known and have a voice. The day ended with Mr. Hale providing a demo class for the students and their families. This was quite an honor for Miller. Mr. Hale did a masterful job providing a lesson about Thomas Jefferson.
After our day of interviews Golden Education treated us to a dinner at a fabulous nearby restaurant. The restaurant was originally a school. The interior is still decorated like a school and the room we ate in is one of the classrooms. The room contained a teacher’s desk and still had a chalkboard on the wall. The food is amazing here in China and is served family style. A variety of delicious dishes are brought to table and everybody shares. I am happy to report that our chopstick skills are greatly improving!