Gaining insight into America

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Tina Lo participated in last month’s graduation ceremony for McNary. She received a certificate but not a diploma. KEIZERTIMES/Lance Masterson

By LANCE MASTERSON
Of the Keizertimes

All’s well that ends well.

“This year went really good. I adjusted very well, I think,” said Tina Lo, Keizer Rotary’s inbound exchange student for the 2009-10 school year.

Lo’s stay, which ends this month, began in August. She said she came here to learn more about America, especially its language and culture.

“When I came here, I understood nothing. Now I understand more,” Lo said. “I learn English, join school activities and see the American view.”

Initially, Lo’s stay was marked by loneliness because she had trouble making friends at McNary. But her loneliness subsided as she became more involved in extracurricular activities.

School-sponsored activities is a concept new to her. Similar activities are available in Taiwan, but generally on a club basis.

“I will miss the activity at McNary. I will miss playing tennis for the school and the concert choirs and the plays,” Lo said. “No choirs, no plays in my high school.”

Accomplishments include being one of the Lady Celts tennis players to represent the team at the district meet, along with performing in two productions of the McNary theatre department.

In “Kiss Me, Kate,” Lo sang with the chorus. In “Girls’ Night Out,” she had a speaking part.

“I was nervous when I had to say my lines,” she said. “But we rehearsed our lines a lot at school. So I just remember, remember, remember and it’s okay.”

Lo also participated in McNary’s graduation, but received a certificate instead of a diploma.

She returns to Taoyuan, Taiwan – her country’s fourth largest city – for her final year of high school.

“When I get back I have to study very hard. No time to play computer,” she said. “I want to go to college.”

Lo said she plans to major in design.

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