Soccer Loses Season Opener

The St. Paul Preparatory School soccer team dropped a 3-2 game to Chesterton Academy on Wednesday night in their first action of the season.

Mr. Wiggin said it was a hard-fought contest.

Scoring for the Falcons were returning forwards Xurxo and Tae Rim, but the equalizer wouldn’t come before the clock ran out.

The Falcons are back in action with their first home game of the season tomorrow, Friday, September 15. SPP takes on the International School of MN at our home pitch, located at the Mt. Airy Boy’s and Girl’s Club (690 Jackson St., St. Paul, MN).

Game time is 5:00pm, sharp, so come cheer on the Falcons!

A bus full of players and fans before the game!

SPP Journalism: Why Students Chose U.S.

These articles were written by St. Paul Prep’s Journalism class.

SPP Students Chose U.S for a Variety of Reasons

International students at St. Paul Prep have moved to the United States in recent years thanks to various exchange organizations in their home countries in order to alter their routine, explore a new culture, and expand their educational opportunities.

According to the majority of the students interviewed, the primary factor that attracted their attention to this specific country began with their interest in an enhanced educational system.

“The school’s operational method here, where you can choose classes, is way better than the Spanish one,” Spanish junior Xurxo R. said. “I’d prefer to pick advanced math classes such as A.P Calculus and general history classes rather than religion because they contribute to my future career.”

But selecting their own courses is not the only educational reason behind their journey here. Other students sought to experience the American academic system because it opens more doors for them later on.

“My country is still in [a] war zone, and our education system is not good enough for me to fulfil my dream,” Afghan junior Mushtaq W. said. “I wanted to have a strong educational background to be able to go to U.S university for a better future, and then go back with full energy to serve my country.”

Just like Mushtaq, other students traded the situation in their home country for a more prosperous and calm habitat in America.

“I always wanted to escape bad transportation in Thailand, and I also hate to see Thai people fight each other, and I hate bad governments that corrupt the country and people,” Thai junior Krissada “Mix” H. said.

Students also agreed that they came here in search of a more challenging environment that would allow them to experience the world by themselves.

“Before, I always had everything pretty much ready to go,” Italian senior Roberto R. said. “I thought that if I truly wanted to see if I could manage my own way, I wanted to go to a completely different place with a totally new stimulus, where the survival and social aspect would almost be entirely on me.”

Increased independence played a role as well in the decision-making process. This autonomy encouraged Jeanne A., a senior from France who began her adventure at SPP two years ago, to step out of the ordinary and relocate to St. Paul, Minnesota.

“It was time for me to leave home and get more independent while [getting to know] a new country,” Jeanne said. “I wanted to alter my routine and surround myself with minds that worked differently than mine.”

But what students enjoy the most during their time in America, more than a good education, new challenges and independence, is the opportunity to expanding their horizons by learning about a new culture and different perspectives.

“I love diversity and learning from different cultures around the world,” Mushtaq said. “While being here I can learn different perspectives which can shape my personality.”

Five Benefits of Studying Abroad in High School

NOTE: This post comes from the Nacel Open Door Blog.

While the actual list of benefits is much longer, we think these are some of the most important aspects of being a high school-aged international student.

Improve language skills outside the classroom.

While learning proper grammar, tenses, and vocabulary from a teacher are an essential piece of learning any language, nothing compares to engaging in conversation with native speakers. From meals with Host Families to friendly strangers, every interaction has the potential to be a learning experience. And oh yeah: learning a second language makes your brain bigger.

Boost for your college application.

With so many students vying for limited space at the world’s best universities, it can be hard to stand out. Studying abroad is one way to get a head start. Many world leaders today studied abroad at some point in their education. Plus, stories of your experiences in a new place, culture, etc., can turn any application essay into your ticket to university.

Taste of independence.

While we do our best to offer students a wide variety of support at NOD, you’re going to have to be independent as well. From the first plane ride alone to your country of study to managing a budget (with the added fun of foreign currency exchange rates), you’ll have plenty of chances to see how you handle navigating life “on your own”, which is also great prep for college.

Networking for your career

It’s never too early to think about your future, and you never know when that random conversation with a stranger could turn into a potential internship or job offer down the road.  A semester or two abroad can also help you land career-related jobs and higher salaries sooner after you graduate.

Cultural understanding

We use the phrase often here at NOD, and for good reason: we believe that in order to be proper global citizens and the leaders of tomorrow, a knowledge of cultures other than your own is supremely beneficial. As our planet grows ever connected, the importance of respecting and appreciating differences in cultures – and finding common ground– becomes even more important. A year (or more) spent learning a different language, talking to different people, eating different foods, and seeing how life operates in a different place can not only give students an insight into another culture, it’ll give you a new perspective on your own culture.

Think we missed something major? Let us know if you’d like to make your own list to share with the NOD family (aka the world)!

Introducing: Guest Blogger Aleksander

Aleksander at the 2015 SPP Spring Talent Show.

Dzień dobry, cześć i czołem! My name is Aleksander and I graduated from SPP two years ago!

I will be a temporary guest writer on the SPP blog. I have some good stuff for you that will be released over the next few weeks. Please follow this blog not to miss a post from me!

What will my posts be about?

My take on life in US of A. Why did I choose a school in Minnesota over one in Florida? How it feels to be a part of SPP? (Go Falcons!). What can you do after your senior year in Minnesota? Friendship with a teacher that used to teach you?

I gotta say – I am incredibly happy that this opportunity was given to me and that I can write something for the SPP Blog.

In the meantime, if you want to get to know me better before I post more here, follow me on Twitter @AJWRSW.

Have a nice day,

Aleksander Jess

P.S. A shout-out for Sheila Stormont for being the most awesome teacher that I have ever met. As I said during my talent show performance, “Let’s turn it up to 11”.

Advisor’s Angle: Communication Styles

Janel-CookBy Nacel Open Door Student and
Host Family Advisor Janel Cook

How would you describe your communication style: direct or indirect? Did you know that Americans are considered to be some of the most direct communicators in the world?

In the United States, people tend to be more direct when communicating compared to other countries where indirect conversations are the norm. This means that students might have moments of miscommunication, embarrassment, or confusion simply due to different communication styles. This is normal and okay; they are from different countries
and cultures after all.

How do you bridge the gap between indirect and direct communication styles? Ask open ended questions (therefore avoiding yes or no answers), set aside time everyday for conversation with your student, and don’t assume that the student understands you, especially during the first few weeks of their arrival. Be sure to ask follow up questions to ensure that communication is crystal clear for everyone. Most of all, have fun and enjoy your time conversing across cultures.comm1.jpg

Direct communicators (U.S. and most European countries) are typically straight to the point, open to confronting issues, and willing to engage in conflict if necessary. They
express opinions freely, say things clearly, and do not leave room for interpretation.

Indirect communicators (Japan, South Korea, China and many Latin American countries) focus on how something is said more so than what is said, avoid difficult or potentially
embarrassing situations (called saving face), avoid conflict whenever possible, express opinions and concerns diplomatically, and count on the listener to interpret the meaning of what is said.

“[F]lexibility and mutual respect are key to dealing with differences in communication styles.” -Cynthia Joyce, professor

Drone Programming

St. Paul Prep students have all sorts of opportunities to take classes and participate in projects that not only pique their interests, but provide hands-on learning with some of the best teachers around. That means more time doing meaningful and relevant projects.

Below are photos from projects that are part of our STEM grant.

SPP: A Matter of Fate

Coming to St. Paul Prep (SPP) was my fate. A lot of people don’t believe in destiny and call it “coincidence,” but whatever it was, it gave a twist to my life. I had different plans before coming here. In fact, I didn’t know about the school’s existence until August 2016, one month before flying to America. Originally, I was going to study in one of the best schools in Boston. I had already discussed my specific case with the school, had found a Host Family, and even had my ticket reserved, but due to visa and school inconveniences, I had to let that dream fade away and stay in Venezuela.

Having to hear “You’re staying,” was one of the toughest things, and I refused to believe it. I seriously disliked my school in Venezuela because they taught me nothing, and I felt like my parents were simply wasting their money in what had been promised to be the best school in my city. However, as much as this news dragged me down, I had to embrace the fact that I had no other option, be grateful for what I have, and understand that everything happens for a reason.

It wasn’t my destiny to go to Boston because it was my fate to discover the Twin Cities.

A week before my 11th grade was over, I decided to go visit my aunt the same day my mom was flying to Caracas (Venezuela’s capital city). I wasn’t supposed to go with her, and I didn’t even know what time her flight was, but for some unknown reason (because I usually don’t spend much time in my house) I decided to go back home to watch a movie with my little sister.

When I was driving back, I stumbled upon my mom by “coincidence” and thought “Well, accompanying her to the airport wouldn’t hurt me, and I won’t see her in a while, so talk to her and ask her to wait for you while you dropped off the car at the house,” and so she did.

When we got to the airport, my friend Kike happened to be in there as well. Kike is one of those old friends whom you stopped hanging out with a while ago, yet the friendship remained the same. I greeted him with a warm hug, asked him how he was, and where he was going. He told me he was going to Caracas for a meeting with Students Program, an exchange student organization that is affiliated with another organization named Nacel. I felt excited for him, especially because I had also planned to do my senior year in the U.S., but it wasn’t possible, I told him. We continued talking when he finally said: “You can email the organization, and they can find you an international school that will give you a high school diploma.”

In that moment, I became deaf to every single individual in the room. I could not believe it. Here was my last chance to (as sad as it sounds) escape my disastrous school situation in Venezuela. I hushed Kike and ran to find my mom and tell her this news. Her flight had already arrived so there was not much time to talk to her, but odds were in my favor: Kike’s mom’s seat on the plane was next to my mom’s. They spent the entire flight discussing the benefits of this program they had just introduced to us, and as the plane landed in Caracas, my mom called my dad.

We had a few meetings with the program, and three weeks later, I began this journey to SPP.cropped-cropped-sam_9946.jpg

A Little Glimpse

Hello! My name is Valeria and I come from Venezuela. As an international student, I came to America filled with excitement to live a new experience and get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to achieve greater things than the ones I was limited to in my native country and operating this blog will offer me that opportunity. I come from a country where people are oppressed by the government, and their voices are always ignored. The lead I will take in this new journey will be sharing the thoughts and experiences not only of myself, but of my fellow classmates at SPP who face the same difficulties and joys as me, living in an unknown country.

My Preparation as an International Student (pt.4 – final)

By: Julie Chau Pham

Part 4: It starts here

After 20 hours of flying around, I’ve arrived at Minneapolis International Airport. I felt kind of excited, dizzy, and  maybe a little sleepy. My friends and I walked to the baggage claim area, looking for our belongings. When all of the sudden, people with big poster of our names on them arrived. We stood there with confusion and awkwardly hug people who we hardly knew.

“Hi!! I’m going to be your host mom! Welcome to America!”

Turned out we were suppose to have our host parents picked us up from the Airport and take care of us for the rest of the year. My host mom, who is luckily a teacher from SPP, came in the Airport with my Chinese roommate to bring me home. Both were very friendly and welcoming, they made me feel like this was home.

On the way home, my host mom asked: “ Are you hungry honey? We could get you something?” Finally, we decided my first meal in the US is going to be at Taco Bell, very interesting. I forgot to mention that my host mom has a huge dog! Her dog ate half of my taco, but the half I got to try was great. When we arrived home, I unpacked my suitcases and went straight to bed even though it was just 7:00pm  because I was so tired. But I woke up at 5:30 in the morning because of universal reason for every international students, jet lag. The sun rise in our backyard was gorgeous though. My host mom made us breakfast with bacon, pancakes and omelet eggs. That hint of spice and onion just woke us up with energy right away. Our home was a bit far away at the time and we won’t be moving until 3 weeks later after; so our awesomely nice host mom drove us to school and taught us at school too. I have to admit, I was very lucky to be in a great environment.

part 4

The day came in with orientation day at school, we got in groups, went through school rules and walked around the school with new friends. They were from around the world and best of all, friendly and interesting. We all sat around and have lunch with each other, talked about the diversity of culture. By the end, my host mom drove us back home for dinner and some goodnight rest for more amazing days. It was a great day for my first step as an international student; I will never forget this wonderful day.

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