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Singapore students visit Staples

Nine students traveled all the way from Singapore to visit Staples High School for two weeks and experience the American education system.

You may have noticed some enthusiastic and eager new faces buzzing around the hallways with curiosity. Or maybe their jet-black hair swiftly combed to one side or their thick rimmed glasses drawing attention to their dark yet kind eyes.

This is because nine male students and their teacher traveled almost 10,000 miles from the Hwa Chong Institution (an all boys private secondary school) in Singapore to stay with host families from November 6th through November 20th and attend Staples High School to experience the American education system.

The Singapore exchange students have a unique perspective on the key differences between education in Singapore and the United States. Students at Staples who feel that they are overwhelmed with school work might be surprised to learn how the academics in Singapore compare so drastically to Westport.

“There is less of a focus on test scores and more focus on the learning process at Staples,” Yun Tae Hyeong ’17 explained.

While many Staples students complain about the long school hours, Hyeong noted that school ends at around 1:00 p.m. in Singapore however, students usually stay till around 7:00 p.m. because of after school involvements and studies.

When Elmer Loh ’17 was asked what he thought was the biggest difference between Staples and his school in Singapore he simply replied with one word, “Girls.” It is a totally different experience going to an all boys school.

“You don’t get screwed up by some 14 year-old love,” Ming Song Wu ’17 explained with a straight face.

When asked about his favorite part of the visit to Staples, Gerald Ang ’17 said that “[he] really liked the electives. Staples High School has a great arts, culinary and media program. And it was really fun to try all of them.”

Having not ever set foot in America, Loh explained that there were plenty of things that surprised him.

“Not everyone is fat,” Loh chuckled. He also explained that he was expecting other stereotypes such as Americans being uneducated and was pleasantly surprised at how wrong he was.

“I wanted to experience coming to an American school. The media has fed us with ideas of what American schools are like,” Hyeong said. “Thanks to this exchange program we had the chance to participate in this learning experience that we wouldn’t be able to experience if we were just normal tourists.”

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