ALL MOVED IN

The Gil­bert School wel­comes in­ter­na­tional stu­dents for new year in new dorm

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ben Lam­bert wlam­bert@registercitizen.com @WLam­bertRC on Twit­ter

As the new school year be­gins in Win­sted, in­ter­na­tional stu­dents are be­com­ing fa­mil­iar with their new home on The Gil­bert School cam­pus, and pre­par­ing for the next step in their ed­u­ca­tion.

Gavin Pang and Jack Huang, both from China, are set­tling into a newly-opened dor­mi­tory for their first year at Win­sted’s tra­di­tional high school.

Pang ar­rived in Win­sted Aug. 22, he said Tuesday.

Amer­i­can res­i­dents have been wel­com­ing so far, he said — in Zian­jiang, his home­town, peo­ple are more fo­cused on their pro­fes­sional lives.

“But here, many peo­ple just say hello to you on the street, and I think this is good,” said Pang. “The Amer­i­can peo­ple are friendly — I love this.”

Pang said he’s look­ing for­ward to im­prov­ing his English and tak­ing in­ter­est­ing classes.

He said he wants to be an ar­chi­tect, fol­low­ing in his fa­ther’s foot­steps. His fam­ily misses him — they’ve called of­ten — but are sat­is­fied with the life at Gil­bert, and want him to be healthy and get good grades.

Huang is from Guan­dong in south­ern China, he said Tuesday. This is his first time trav­el­ing to Amer­ica, and he was a lit­tle afraid when he ar­rived about get­ting used to life, study­ing, and the peo­ple here. That fear turned out to be short-lived, he said.

“Now, some days later, I feel bet­ter,” said Huang.

Huang said he’s look­ing for­ward to study­ing, learn­ing things

he’s in­ter­ested in, and mak­ing friends with sim­i­lar hob­bies, he said. He said his fam­ily will miss him, but wanted him to have the chance to learn some­thing dif­fer­ent than he would in China.

“I want to see some­thing new,” said Huang, an in­com­ing 10th-grade stu­dent. “I want to know more.” For Hill­son Liu, go­ing to Gil­bert has been a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence thus far, he said. He’s re­turn­ing for an­other

year at the school — last year, he helped Gil­bert win the 2017 Berk­shire League Cham­pi­onship.

He said he chose to come to Gil­bert to learn about the world beyond his home­town and about dif­fer­ent ways to study. He said the life­style here in Con­necti­cut has taken some get­ting used to, as its much qui­eter here, but peo­ple have been kind.

“( I) miss home some­times, ( but) get­ting a chance to get out of the home­town, and liv­ing with friends, teach­ers, in­stead of (let­ting) my par­ents take care of me ev­ery time at home — tak­ing care of my-

self, or even tak­ing care of my friends — that’s a good ex­pe­ri­ence for me,” said Liu.

His par­ents are happy with his de­ci­sion to be ed­u­cated in the U.S. thus far, he said.

“They were happy that I could get out of my coun­try and gain more ex­pe­ri­ence and gain more knowl­edge,” said Liu. “My par­ents are feel­ing good, just to send me out.”

Liu said he hopes to fin­ish high school, get into a good col­lege, and golf while he’s there.

Huang, Pang, and Liu have all taken up res­i­dence in the new in­terna-

tional dor­mi­tory at Gil­bert, which was con­structed over the past year. Pang and Liu said they’ve found it a pleas­ant enough place to live, although Liu misses his for­mer kitchen ac­cess.

“I love this dorm be­cause it’s a new dorm, and the fa­cil­i­ties here (are) good, and my room­mate is also good,” said Pang.

The in­ter­na­tional pro­gram is of in­creas­ing im­por­tance to both Gil­bert and Win­sted as a whole, The semi-pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion re­ceives tu­ition pay­ments from the stu­dents from abroad, which de­frays po­ten­tial charges to

tax­pay­ers.

There are 77 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the pro­gram at this point, ac­cord­ing to Dean of Stu­dent Life Carla Mas­troianni, who di­rects hous­ing for the in­ter­na­tional pro­gram — a num­ber which is pro­jected to in­crease for the sec­ond se­mes­ter. The new dorm has room for up to 52 male stu­dents. Stu­dents started ori­en­ta­tion last week, she said.

Mas­troianni said the pro­gram al­lows stu­dents from abroad — in ad­di­tion to China, the pro­gram has had stu­dents from France and Italy, among other coun­tries, she said — to have new ex­pe­ri­ences and fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion, and gives Winch­ester stu­dents the chance to know peo­ple from far beyond the bor­ders of Win­sted.

“It’s an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity for them to be able to come here to the United States and see dif­fer­ent things, and be able to even­tu­ally go to col­lege here,” said Mas­troianni.

To­day, Wednesday, is the first day of school for new stu­dents at Gil­bert as well as sev­enth-graders, and ninth-graders. The Winch­ester Pub­lic Schools will also launch into the new year to­day.

BEN LAM­BERT / HEARST CON­NECTI­CUT ME­DIA

In­ter­na­tional stu­dents in­clud­ing Hill­son Liu and Gavin Pang are set­tling into a new dor­mi­tory at The Gil­bert School ahead of the new year.

BEN LAM­BERT / HEARST CON­NECTI­CUT ME­DIA

In­ter­na­tional stu­dents are set­tling into a new dor­mi­tory at The Gil­bert School ahead of the new year.

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