Made in Taiwan

Community accepts international student with open arms

Tia Baldwin, Feature Editor

On the last night of Operation Snowball, sophomore Tsai “Molly” Yang broke out into the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Soon, the entire cabin joined in the incredibly sweet transfer student from Taiwan.

For those who know Yang, this should come as no surprise.

“She’s such a positive and fun girl; I couldn’t have imagined Snowball without her,” junior Mary Kate Paetow- Fanning said.

Yang emigrated from Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, a year ago.

“My family always planned on moving to the U.S.,” Yang said. “My cousins went to H-F, that’s why we moved here out of all places.”

Yang says she was given the option to move to California, where her uncle lives (and where the Asian immigrant population is significantly higher).

“In California, the schools [are] full of Asians,” Yang said. “I wanted to move to ‘real America’, so I moved here!”

After moving here, Yang’s aunt reached out to her old friend from graduate school, Guidance Counselor Lorrie Maul.

To help her adjust Maul introduced her to the Operation Snowball community.
“She would be lost otherwise, not knowing anybody,” Maul said. “I told her she would meet really great friends from a nice and nurturing community.”

Yang wanted to move to America for a better education and for more fun.

“All of my friends in Taiwan want to study in the U.S., like I do,” she said. “The students have to memorize a lot of things to get a good grade, there was never any time for fun.”

The hardest part of Yang’s move was the language barrier.

“I took [an] English class in Taiwan, but it only focused on grammar,” Yang said. “I did not learn a lot of vocabulary and how to talk to others, so that was very hard to me.”

In the midst of a move to a new country with a different language and culture, Yang luckily made many friends in the process.

“I have been very happy because everyone is so welcoming and warm,” Yang said. “They understand how the language (English) is difficult to me.”

Yang says she often feels frustrated because of this barrier, but she “feels like there will be someone helping me, whenever I need.”

Sophomore Lucy Sloan, a friend of Yang’s, says she loves how bright and bubbly she is.

“We got close during [play] rehearsals,” Sloan said. “Everyone who knows Molly, knows that she’s great. Especially how she goes out of her way to say, ‘Hi!’ to you in the hallways.”

Despite the friends she’s made, Yang still finds herself homesick from time to time.

“I miss the food, my friends, and many, many things. Sometimes, I even miss cramming for school during tutoring,” she said while laughing.

With a community offering open arms, Yang has changed a lot.

“With a change in culture, I think Molly finds herself allowing balance in her life, because of everyone’s supportive nature,” Maul said