Welcome to the English Corner!


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I love teaching and want to instil a love for English in all of my students at Beijing Royal School. I developed this site to be a valuable resource for each student. Visit here often to see announcements, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, and other useful information.

I really want all of you to reach your potential and become a success at BRS and in life. I look forward to your comments and your input as we study English together.

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The Most Chinese Universities in America

The Most Chinese Schools in America

In the 1970s, they came from Iran, riding the wave of the oil boom. Then in the first decade of the second millennium, they came from India, filling up graduate programs in business and science. Now, it’s Chinese students who comprise the largest group of international pupils in the United States, buoyed by a growing Chinese middle class that’s willing to pay top dollar for their children’s educations. According to an annual report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in the 2014-2015 academic year more than 304,000 Chinese students were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, an almost five-fold increase from just a decade earlier.

This means Chinese students have become a far more visible presence on U.S. campuses. But which ones, exactly? It’s a simple question that is surprisingly difficult to answer — there is no complete, publicly available data set that documents the origins of international student populations by school, at every college and university in the United States. Via the Freedom of Information Act, Foreign Policy requested information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which collects statistics on F-1 visas, the most commonly issued student visa, including the students’ countries of origin and which institutions they attend. FP received a complete set of data on the F-1 visas issued in all of 2014 and until late March 2015, which indicated the schools for which each was issued. (FP did not receive this data from DHS until late October.) Those numbers are a strong proxy for the most Chinese campuses in America, and provide an apples-to-apples method to compare them. In the rankings* below, toggle to see school F-1 visa numbers weighted by total (main campus) enrollment; in that regard, Illinois Institute of Technology ranks first.

Sort by total number of F-1 visas Weighted vs. total enrollment

Rank (by # of visas) School
1 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2 University of Southern California
3 Purdue University
4 Northeastern University
5 Columbia University
6 Michigan State University
7 Ohio State University
8 University of California, Los Angeles
9 Indiana University
10 University of California at Berkeley
11 New York University
12 Pennsylvania State University
13 University of Minnesota
14 University of Washington Seattle
15 Arizona State University
16 University of Michigan Ann Arbor
17 Boston University
18 Illinois Institute of Technology
19 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
20 University of Texas at Dallas
21 University of Wisconsin-Madison
22 University of California, San Diego
23 Carnegie Mellon University
24 State University of New York at Stony Brook
25 Syracuse University

F-1 visas are not a perfect metric. Some international students and scholars come to the United States on visas other than the F-1; others get an F-1 visa, but don’t enroll, or later transfer to another school.

Yet the numbers reveal much. According to DHS data, the campus with the largest number of Chinese students is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pictured at top. That campus, part of the University of Illinois system, has worked hard to welcome thousands from mainland China, holding clinics introducing the basics of the sport, and in 2015 initiating Chinese-language broadcasts of football games. (“We have a strong historical relationship with China that goes back more than 100 years,” Reitu Mabokela, Vice-provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies at Illinois, told FP via e-mail.) Other schools with large Chinese student populations are taking similar steps. Purdue University, third on the list, holds pre-departure orientations for students before they even leave China. With thousands of Chinese now enrolled at Indiana University, ranked ninth, the city of Bloomington, host to Indiana University’s main campus, now boasts a new Chinese-language newspaper, the Blooming Times.

Most of the universities in the top 25 are large public institutions, with a few exceptions including Columbia University, Boston University, and Carnegie Mellon University. This is due in part to the large overall student population of the schools, but also perhaps to the more modest tuition at public institutions — Chinese students are often ineligible for federal financial aid. Some public schools, short on cash, actively recruit international students, who typically pay tuition at the higher out-of-state rate.

A look at the geographic distribution of Chinese students studying in the United States indicates that they are likely to attend schools in coastal states and the eastern half of the country. The interactive heat map below shows the locations of the 150 colleges and universities connected to the most F-1 visas for Chinese nationals:

FP also ranked the eight Ivy League schools by Chinese student population. Among the Ivies — a well-known and coveted group of schools even among many everyday Chinese — Columbia University has the largest number of Chinese students. In the ranking below, toggle to see school F-1 visa numbers weighted by total enrollment; on that score, Columbia still ranks first.

Sort by total number of F-1 visas Weighted vs. total enrollment

Rank (by # of visas) School
1 Columbia University
2 Cornell University
3 University of Pennsylvania
4 Harvard University
5 Yale University
6 Brown University
7 Princeton University
8 Dartmouth College

Liberal arts and women’s colleges typically have small overall student populations, and thus relatively small numbers of international students. But liberal arts education has become increasingly well known within China, even as domestic institutions have been slow to adopt the practices. That has made U.S. liberal arts colleges an increasingly popular choice among young Chinese. FP has also created a ranking for the Seven Sisters, a loose grouping of historically women’s liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, which now numbers only six, after Radcliffe’s official absorption into Harvard in 1999. (Vassar is now co-ed.) Among the Seven Sisters ranking, below, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has the most Chinese students, while Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania tops the weighted rankings:

Sort by total number of F-1 visas Weighted vs. total enrollment

Rank (by # of visas) School
1 Mount Holyoke College
2 Bryn Mawr College
3 Smith College
4 Wellesley College
5 Vassar College
6 Barnard College

Even with such astonishing growth — the Chinese student population has grown almost five-fold in the past decade — it still doesn’t seem to have hit its peak. The 2014-2015 academic year saw a somewhat slower rise than previous years, at 10.8 percent — but still above 10.1 percent, the average growth rate for all international students.

With reporting and writing from Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Alexa Olesen, Shujie Leng, and David Wertime. Graphics by C.K. Hickey.

*Notes on dataF-1 data: For Indiana University, Pennsylvania State University, and Rutgers: DHS data does not differentiate by campus; for University of Wisconsin-Madison: data does not include University of Wisconsin Colleges program; for Arizona State University: data does not include AECP program; for University of California Berkeley, data does not include extension school. Weighted enrollment data: F-1 visa numbers were compared against total final unduplicated 12-month headcount 2013-2014 data via the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Purdue University data for main campus only; Northeastern University data does not include Northeastern Global Network; Columbia University data does not include Teachers’ College; Michigan State University data does not include College of Law; Ohio State University data for main campus only; New York University data does not include polytechnic institute; Indiana University data for Bloomington campus only; Pennsylvania State University data for main campus only; University of Minnesota data for Twin Cities campus only; Arizona State University data for Tempe campus only; University of Michigan data for Ann Arbor campus only; Rutgers data for New Brunswick campus only; University of Wisconsin-Madison data does not include extension school; SUNY-Stony Brook listed as “Stony Brook University.”

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The Life of a Chinese High Schooler in America



If Lydia Hong, 16, had to choose a standout moment in her tenure so far at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, it would probably be the time the Beijing native was chosen to represent her class on the student council. 

“I didn’t think I was going to be picked because there were six students and the other five girls were quite popular,” the current high school sophomore recalled of the 2015 student council elections. “But after I gave the speech, everybody clapped. People all around me said, ‘You are so cute on stage.’

In her speech, Hong spoke candidly about being a Chinese student living away from her parents, navigating her freshman year of high school in America. During the past 10 years, her situation has become increasingly common. The Department of Homeland Security has reported a 5,927 percent increase in Chinese secondary school students since 2005, with 38,089 now in U.S. secondary schools, 95 percent of those private.

Around the middle of the previous decade, parents among China’s growing middle class began to see an American secondary education as a desirable prospect for their only child, according to Peggy Blumenthal of the Washington-based non-profit Institute for International Education (IIE). “When they look around the world, the way that education is offered in the United States is very attractive, both in preparing for future careers and the way we teach, which is very participatory,” she said. The influx of Chinese students was serendipitous for private schools. With their often expensive rates, many had suffered from declining enrollment in the wake of the recession. Many institutions were happy to fill vacancies with international students who often paid full tuition. “It was sort of fortuitous,” McGovern said.

But it turns out that the toughest part of American high school for Chinese students is neither the language barrier nor the adjustment to U.S.-style education. Chinese students at Bullis say the hardest part of their high school experience has been that ancient teenage problem: the struggle to fit in. In interviews with FP, they said that difficulty integrating has colored their high school experience. Many primarily associate with other Chinese students.

It was another Chinese student who had helped coach Hong to her victory. “I taught her that,” said Thomas Liu, 17, of Hong’s political success. A former class representative himself, Liu, now a senior at Bullis, told Hong she could parlay her first-year struggles into an effective appeal. “I had this brilliant idea,” said Liu, grinning. “I talk about how lonely, how sad I was, and they all vote for me.” The strategy worked.

The transition to Bullis hadn’t been easy for Liu either. Originally from Kunming, a city in southwestern China, he described his first year as a time of struggle and growth. He remembers the shock of getting a failing grade on his first social studies test, something that had never happened to him before.

But ultimately, it is not the academics — which, in the end, are a breeze compared with the grueling demands of Chinese high school — that are the most challenging in a new arrival’s first year. It’s the pressure to find common ground with American peers.

“You try so hard to fit in,” Liu said of those first few months. “You just try too hard.” Liu remembers trying to learn to watch football on television (“That’s American, right?”) and understand American humor (“Knock-knock jokes; I never got those”). “Sometimes,” he said, “you feel like you’re selling yourself out.”

Liu’s closest friend is another Chinese student named Michael Liu (no relation), 17, now a junior at Bullis. The two boys bonded over their passion for League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle game that is wildly popular in East Asia and among the 27 Chinese students in Bullis’ high school, nearly all of whom play it. Even in the realm of gaming, a clear line divides the Chinese students and their American peers. “We play League, they play [Call of Duty],” said Michael Liu, referring to a popular online first-person shooter.

Integration is something of a holy grail for the U.S. private schools that accept Chinese students.

Integration is something of a holy grail for the U.S. private schools that accept Chinese students. Schools like Bullis feel it is only through integration that Chinese students can get out of their American high school experience what they came for: that is, better English and real cultural competency. For this reason, Bullis, like an increasing number of its peers, has decided to put an upper limit on the number of Chinese students it accepts. (They say they will cap the percentage at 10; schools with similar policies tend to put caps between 10 to 15 percent.) McGovern, of NAIS, said schools have had to “become intentional” about balancing enrollment. “You could fill the school with Chinese students but they wouldn’t get an American-style experience,” she said.

The pressure to maintain what McGovern calls a “healthy mix” of American and Chinese amid the ever-rising tide of applications from China is shaping admissions departments across the country. The Woodstock Academy, a private day school in Woodstock, Connecticut, sets quotas to ensure their Chinese students receive an American-style experience. Woodstock’s international program started with three Chinese students in 2009; it now has 90 Chinese students, comprising about 9 percent of the student population, and administrators say they want to keep their Chinese student population between 8 and 12 percent. About 75 percent of those students live with host families, while the rest live in two converted houses with a full-time dorm parent, an increasingly popular solution for day schools.

Amy Favreau, director of admissions at Woodstock, said the Chinese students have been a great addition to the school. She is particularly impressed by their studiousness: “They work very, very hard, and it’s refreshing.” But she said she and her colleagues have to spend considerable effort trying to get them to make American friends. “They don’t need to be told to go study,” Favreau said. “That’s not a struggle. But sometimes they need to be told, you’ve got to join a club, you’ve got to try something else.” Favreau said this kind of practice is necessary for the students’ future success. “Their goals are to attend a U.S. university, and in order to do that they need some level of socialization.”

But not everyone agrees that a high percentage of Chinese students is a barrier to learning to thrive in the United States. Arroyo Pacific Academy, a private day school of 200 students in Arcadia, California, is 70 percent Chinese. Robert Nguyen, the school’s director of admissions, believes that being surrounded by other Chinese actually makes the Chinese students at Arroyo Pacific more willing to come out of their shell. Six or seven years ago, when the school had just five Chinese students, they spoke only with one another, Nguyen said. He said that when the Chinese student population is so small, each Chinese student feels like a “token member” — uncomfortable and out of place. But now, he said, in after-school clubs, the Chinese students “feel like they belong.” He describes it as a kind of strength in numbers: The Chinese students feel less intimidated about speaking English to their American peers, and less shy about asking for help.

Still, Nguyen admits that not all of the Chinese students assimilate. Some Chinese students don’t integrate, Nguyen said, because they don’t take American high school seriously — the Chinese at Arroyo Pacific tend to be extremely affluent, he said, and a small contingent of Chinese students has been sent to Arroyo Pacific because their wealthy parents realized their unmotivated children would not succeed in high-pressure high schools in China. Nguyen likened it to any given East Coast prep school: “You have the wealthy ones that party and shop and the dedicated students.”

At Bullis, the transition from a handful of Chinese students to what Wendy Sturges, assistant director of admission, called a “full-fledged international program” has not always gone smoothly.

The admissions team once interviewed a student by phone only to discover that the person who showed up in the fall was someone else. And they found themselves constantly scrambling to find host families. In 2007, when Bullis had just two Chinese students, one lived with the headmaster, and Anita Havas, director of international student services, said she has hosted more than a dozen Chinese students through the years. She is currently host mother to Hong and another girl from Beijing. With the exception of a couple of students who live with family friends, all of the Chinese students at Bullis live with host families. But this may soon change:

To accommodate its growing Chinese population, Bullis’ board has included the construction of a dormitory for Chinese students in its 20-year plan.

To accommodate its growing Chinese population, Bullis’ board has included the construction of a dormitory for Chinese students in its 20-year plan.

Bullis administrators admit to having spent many hours over the years trying to puzzle out the lack of what Havas calls “cross-pollination.” Like every other director of admissions who spoke to FP, Havas said Chinese students tend to stick together. In a bid to encourage cross-cultural bonding, the Bullis administration has tried a peer mentor program and even a beginning-of-freshman-year wilderness orienteering trip. Although there are notable exceptions — administrators speak of a Chinese student who joined the football team and another active in theater — it remains the case that the vast majority of Chinese students sit together at lunch.

This fall, Hong has had a number of classically American high school experiences that she thought she’d never have. As a representative of her class, she was compelled to attend the school’s homecoming dance. And, in accordance with her official duties, she attended her first football game. “It’s actually pretty fun,” she said. “I don’t really understand football, but I just enjoy screaming with people together and eating hot dogs.”

Of all the Chinese students, Hong is among those who Havas has identified as the most successful cross-pollinators. Like Liu and Michael, Hong said she initially had trouble finding things to talk about with her American peers, because of her lack of knowledge about American culture. Then, one day at school, she noticed a girl wearing a T-shirt from the fantasy-horror TV series Supernatural.

The girl turned out to be Maggie Whatley, 16, a sophomore. The two girls became fast friends, bonding over their shared passion for superhero movies and the TV series Sherlock, whose star, Benedict Cumberbatch, is beloved in China. These days, they have sleepovers with a couple of other friends almost every other weekend. Last year, when Whatley sensed Hong feeling homesick, Whatley threw Hong an Avengers-themed surprise birthday party, complete with a Captain America cake.

Whatley admitted that being such close friends with a Chinese student is rather rare. Most of her American peers, she said, show little interest in interacting with Chinese students outside of class. “I feel like a lot of people don’t talk to them because they’re worried they won’t understand or the conversation will be bad or not interesting.” Hong said she admires Whatley and her other American friends. “People have something they are good at, they have passions and interests, that’s what I don’t see a lot of in China,” Hong says.

“In China we learn the same stuff. You don’t have the opportunity to choose your own interests.”

“In China we learn the same stuff. You don’t have the opportunity to choose your own interests.”

Still, Hong said she spends most of her free time hanging out with other Chinese students. Hong, Thomas Liu, and Michael Liu, along with two other Chinese students, sit together every day at lunch. The five have a WeChat group, where they make jokes and plan weekend outings. Most of their outings consist of a movie preceded by Chinese food at one of Rockville’s numerous Asian spots. Aside from their parents, all of the students say that Chinese food is what they miss the most.

“I think we know every single restaurant in this area,” Michael Liu said.

While it sometimes seems the nature of the relationship between the world’s two largest economies is only beginning to be understood, the experiences of Lydia and her Chinese friends at the Bullis School, where Sino-American relations play out on a microscopic level, show that mutual understanding is far from impossible. The differences between Chinese and Americans are significant, but they are not fundamentally unbridgeable. If Lydia understands this, it is less because of her bicultural experience than because of the lesson all high school students eventually learn: You can’t force friendship.

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Meet EW202 Class 2

This gallery contains 10 photos.


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Basic Survival Skills for Writing



by Wanda Knight

Hey everyone!

Part of your grade includes the correct use of MLA formatting.

At the most basic level, there are a few things that are fairly easy to implement.  These include:

  • Double space your work
  • Indent your paragraphs
  • Use Times New Roman font 12pt.
  •  Use hanging indent on the Works Cited Page

You can google images and see an example–just put in MLA formatting–and follow the way that looks!  It’s not hard on the basic level.

For your citations on your Works Cited page, find a citation wizard online and it will format for you.  You really can do this!!!!

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Note Taking Tips


As you get involved with the complexities of note taking, you may tend to forget the simple things that can make life a lot easier. These tips are little hints that we all know but sometimes forget. They can be summarized by four directives:

  1. BE ALERT – so you are aware of and prepared for the lecture content and situation.
  2. BE ORDERLY – so you can process the lecture now and for review later.
  3. BE SYSTEMATIC – so you can establish a habit and pattern so you won’t miss anything important.
  4. BE UP TO DATE – so that your well designed note taking system gets done.

Below is a list of tips which may help you to be alert, orderly, systematic, and up to date.

  • Attend lectures regularly. Once you miss one, it will be easier to miss more.
  • Use a standard 8 ½” x 11″ loose leaf notebook, for continued organization and review. Spiral notebooks do not allow reshuffling your notes for review.
  • Keep the notes for one class separate from other classes. Best yet, keep each class in a separate binder.
  • Write on one side of the paper for easier organization. It’s possible to overlook material written on the back of a sheet.
  • Leave your notebook at home and carry with you only enough pages to keep track of the lecture. This way you won’t lose your entire set of notes should you misplace them.
  • Carry extra pens and pencils for editing and unforeseen obstacles (UFO’s).
  • Don’t doodle because it distracts. Keep eye contact when not writing.
  • Make notes as complete as needed and as clear as possible so they can be used meaningfully later.
  • Leave blanks where information is missed or not understood. Fill in gaps after lecture or as soon after as possible with the aid of the instructor or classmates.
  • Develop your own system of enumerating and indenting.
  • Use symbols such as asterisks for emphasis.
  • Mark or separate assignments given in class in a space apart from the lecture notes.
  • Separate your thoughts from those of the lecture; record your own items after the lecture.
  • Be alert for cues, postural, visual, etc.
  • Record examples where helpful.
  • Listen especially at the end of the lecture. If the instructor has not paced his lecture well, he may cram half of the content into the last 5-10 minutes.
  • Get into the five-minute technique of reviewing your notes right after class. At this time you can change, organize, add, delete, summarize, or clarify misunderstandings.
  • Recopying by itself is a debatable advantage but the five-minute technique is not.
  • Have study sessions once or twice a week to learn omissions, clear up misinterpretations and get other students opinions about interpretations.
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How Strong Is Your Brain?

Six Tips for studying, taking into account that marvellous organ: the brain!


  • Take short breaks every 20 minutes or so.  The brain cannot concentrate fully for much longer than that.
  • Studying should be fun.  The adolescent brain is a “social organ”.  This means that you will learn better if you are discussing the material you need to learn with friends. Organize study groups.
  • Making links helps you to remember material, and you can learn more from a picture than five pages of text.  So, when you are studying, make mind maps, diagrams and designs that you will remember, linking different bits of information together so that they are all relevant.
  • Reduce your notes.  Start by reducing a lot of text to an A3 sheet of paper – a diagram, perhaps.  Then re-format this to notes on an A4 sheet, perhaps with bullet points.  From the A4 try and get it down to an index card that you can look at a week before the exam and that will take you all the way back to remembering the original text.
  • Write, instead of using your keyboard. You learn more effectively by writing because the brain’s filtering system processes what you are focusing on. Your brain knows it needs to pay attention when you are writing.
  • Teach yourself. Pretend you are a teacher and teach yourself the material – this will help you to recall the necessary information and will help you to avoid making mistakes. You can act, sing, dance, teach a group, anything that will get you to express the content.
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Energizing Yourself



Learn how to energize yourself with this infographic from MindTools.com

Source: Energizing Yourself

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Starting The New Semester Off Right


  1. Get Organized. Making a plan for what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it will make sure you’re always ahead of the curve – literally.
  2. Don’t multitask. Studies have shown that multitasking is physically impossible.
  3. Divide it up. Studying isn’t fun to begin with, and forcing yourself through a study marathon will only make it worse. Dividing your work into manageable chunks and rewarding yourself when you finish each chunk will make studying (more) fun.
  4. Sleep. Don’t underestimate the importance of those eight hours of zzz’s every night! Getting a good night’s rest will sharpen your focus and improve your working memory.
  5. Set a schedule. Do you work better right after school or after you’ve eaten dinner? Are you more productive in 90-minute blocks or half-hour spurts? Find a scheudle that works for you, and stick to it.
  6. Take notes. Taking notes will not only keep you more engaged during class, but will also help you narrow down what you need to study when exam time rolls around. It’s much easier to reread your notes than to reread your entire textbook!
  7. Study. This one might be obvious, but did you know that there’s a right and a wrong way to study? Review your material several days ahead of time, in small chunks, and in different manners (for example, write flashcards one day and take practice tests the next). In other words, don’t cram.
  8. Manage your study space. Find a place that will maximize your productivity. Look for places away from the television and other distractions. Whether it’s your local library or just the desk in your bedroom, set aside a study space that you’ll want to spend time in.
  9. Find a study group. Sitting down with a group of people who are learning the same things as you is a great way to go over confusing class material or prepare for a big test. You can quiz each other, reteach material, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. After all, teaching someone else is the best way to learn.
  10. Ask questions. You’re in school to learn, so don’t be afraid to do just that! Asking for help – from a teacher, a tutor or your friends – is a surefire way to make sure you truly understand the material.


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How Good Is Your Time Management?: Discover Time Management Tools That Can Help You Excel

fwferethhyTake this test to find out how well you manage your time, and to get advice on which time management tools you should use to improve your productivity.

Source: How Good Is Your Time Management?: Discover Time Management Tools That Can Help You Excel

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