Princeternship stories: Yusuke Tsuzuki ’19, YingHua International School

tsuzukiMy Princeternship host, Ms. Kristin Epstein ’96, was a kind, engaging and wonderful host, and I had an extraordinary experience at YingHua International School.  YingHua is unlike any other school, in that it has a dual language curriculum, and its unique atmosphere enabled me to look at education from a different perspective. Students are taught only in Chinese before 1st grade, and gradually increase their proportion of English classes. Many of the students don’t speak Chinese at home, yet most upperclassmen speak it fluently. I wish they could’ve taken my CHI303 final for me. If you’re interested in language and education, YingHua is the perfect place to see how the two fields can come together in practice.

The benefits of this Princeternship were countless. First, shadowing the executive director allows you to get behind the scenes of school life and know how both individual teachers and board members need to respond to various needs. On the first and third day we attended a teacher-parent conference. There you can see how diverse the perspectives of parents are, in terms of testing, feedback, education goals, and much more. The fact that Yinghua is a private school makes it more interesting, because parental feedback directly means customer feedback, unlike in public schools. It was personally interesting for me because I’m interested in the public/private aspect of education, whether or not and to what extent educational institutions should be privatized.

Second, the Chinese New Year comes around during the intersession Princeternship, and I got to see the students perform at the Princeton Senior Center! This means that you not only get to enjoy watching the students perform traditional plays and sing traditional New Year songs, but you can also see how effective the dual curriculum is. The upper-grade students speak so fluently, it’s just amazing.

Last but not the least, Princeternship gives you the opportunity to listen to the stories of Princeton alumni: how their Princeton life was, what led to their current job, and what they think is important in life. My host actually started out as a BSE engineer–which was surprising considering the fact that she now runs an international school–and she chose not to get an MBA, even though it might have been useful. Each of her life decisions shows you there is no “mainstream” way of finding your career.

I would recommend this Princeternship at YingHua International School to anyone who is interested in education or language (especially Chinese), and perhaps policy-making concerning the two areas.  I want to thank Ms. Epstein again for being an awesome host, and Demi Zhang ’19 as well, who participated with me as a fellow Princetern.