Humans of the Dub: International school


Jordan Bell, Humans of the Dub - Staff

Could you talk about why you were interested in joining Humans of the Dub?

Initially, I was interested in joining the newspaper, because I love being able to write and being able to talk to people about their experiences. HOTD is more related to that part of my interest. You can walk up to someone that you normally wouldn’t talk to and you can have an in-depth conversation. Also, I knew about Humans of New York (HONY), and once I knew UNCW had something similar to that, I knew I had to sign up.


I noticed you have spent a considerable amount of time in Beijing. What was that experience like?

Both of my parents are teachers, and I moved there when I was 14. That was a weird age to move since I had to leave all of my friends behind when I was in 9th grade. I went to an all-Chinese boarding school which was a complete turnaround from the public school I was used to in the US. The classes went from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at night. So I was there for a year, and eventually, I was given a full merit scholarship to an international school. That was a little different, classes only went until 4:00 p.m. at that school. I was a tri-athlete there. I played volleyball, soccer and basketball. I also paid for my own tuition. I went there for three years, and it was a pretty normal school. The main differences came from the fact that it was an international school, so it included all walks of life. It was definitely an interesting experience, but after a while, it just became home. People ask me about how I adapted and how I got used to the changes, but after a while, I just became comfortable. The biggest difference came from living in Chapel Hill to living in a bigger city in Beijing. 


How as traveling to class every day?

Well, my first school was a boarding school, so I didn’t have to worry about traveling for that time. For my other school, I would just walk 15 minutes to class and take the subway to go to any other events. 


Was it scary? Being in a big city and walking to class could be a scary thing, especially for a high schooler.

My parents trusted me to handle myself. Also, it was a very safe city. I could walk outside at 2:oo a.m. by myself, and I would still feel safe. It’s definitely a different mentality than the big cities here in the states. The crime levels are generally lower. I think it has something to do with the communistic mentality of the people. There have been a few attacks from time to time, but compared to the US, it’s considerably low. I would have a few people stare at me from time to time, but I was never in any danger.


What lasting takeaways or connections did you take from your time in China?

All of my friends from my international school were from different places around the world. That was one of my greatest takeaways. I have this global connection now, and my friends aren’t just from North Carolina. I’m going to [the country] Georgia this summer, and I have a place to stay and a friend who’s super excited to see me. My experience from my international school gave me an appreciation for the understanding of different cultures. Before, I would always think of them as foreign, and now I just see them as regular people living different lifestyles. They’re just like us but have different daily routines. There really aren’t that many huge differences. That was huge for me to realize at such a young age. 


Sometimes people say, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” So, if you did not have to sleep for the next week, what would you get done?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to code! I have a few applications on my computer, but I’ve never really had the time to work through them. So if I had a few extra hours, I would learn how to do that.


What fictional place would you really like to visit?

Alice in Wonderland! I’d really like to visit that world. Growing up, I would always be a different character from that story, so I’d love to spend time in that place for a while. I just loved how vibrant the colors were and how everything was so big and animated. 


What is a skill that you are not very good at that you would like to master?

I’d like to learn how to juggle. I can only juggle 2 things right now, but I really want to get to three. It’s really random, but it’s something I’ve always tried to do. I’d probably start with something simple and safe like apples.