Wenting "Chloe" Tao is from EFZ, Peddie's sister school in Shanghai. This spring, Chloe, along with 11 classmates and their teacher, spent two weeks visiting classes at Peddie, staying with a host family and also in a dorm, and visiting Washington, D.C. and New York City. Following is a reflection on her experience.
Four months ago, on Christmas Day, I was on the biggest stage in EFZ. I was there for a singing contest. I was extremely nervous, chose a song that’s completely not my style, broke a note, shivered with a completely blank mind and, in the end, lost the contest.
When I was standing there singing, in front of the giant, intimidating crowd, I was so nervous that I could hardly think. But I do remember searching in the audience, one by one through the two hundred people, carefully examining everyone’s face - for a smile.
One smile. One tiny , gentle, encouraging smile. But I didn’t find it.
I was a very introverted person, who spoke softly, and was terrible at expressing how I felt. Everything was not right at that moment. I felt lonely.
Then I went on this wonderful trip to Peddie. I don’t mean to sound too dramatic, but the week here really changed me. I’ve never been to a place where everyone’s so friendly and the environment is so positive. In class, the teacher encourages everyone to think; at lunch, the kids talk actively about various topics; at home, Mrs.Robinson exchanges her opinion with me about the history and obligations of both countries. I received five times the smiles I could get in a year.
I've gradually opened up. I learned to talk to people, to listen and to understand, to tell people sincerely about how I feel. It was hard at first, but thanks to all the encouragement, now I feel much more confident.
Now I’m spending time in DC. It’s a great trip, thanks to all the efforts of Peddie faculty members, especially Ms Hogarth and Mr. Clements. I got to talk to a lot of people in this trip, including a doctor, a protestor, a few students, and a wonderful Indian who travelled all the way from New York to Washington for cherry blossoms. Isn’t that fantastic? J
Life opens up for you when you embrace it. Thank you, Peddie.