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Bohan Chen' 14 First Chinese Student at HMI
Bohan Chen, ‘14 from Shandong, China is not only embracing his international opportunities by travelling across the world to study at South Kent School, but he is continuing his adventurous ways by being the first Chinese student to attend the Rocky Mountain Semester at High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain Semester offers 11th grade students the opportunity to focus on rigorous academics and leadership skills as part of the close-knit community on campus in Leadville and on three wilderness expeditions in the Rocky Mountains and Utah canyons.
“Being the first Chinese student is a big honor for Bohan and being from SKS is significant in that we created this opportunity for him,” said Nancy Lyon, Chief Operating Officer at South Kent School. “Our program (at SKS) is unique in that we help our Chinese students differentiate themselves and build academic portfolios that far exceeds mere grades, TOEFL and SAT scores. Selective US colleges and universities look for this differentiation, especially in international students where the competition is extremely keen- good grades and test scores aren't enough,” she added.
“HMI is a very prestigious program and academically very rigorous. Many of its alumni go on to "Top 20" ranked colleges and universities,” Lyon said. “HMI is one of the two most selective and competitive semester programs in the United States, and for Bohan to be offered one of only 40 spots is an honor for him and for South Kent School. To be the first Chinese student in such a prestigious and competitive program is unprecedented,” she added.
Chen has worked hard to be prepared for his semester at HMI. While embracing the South Kent School community, challenging his academics with advanced courses and perfecting his breathtaking piano ability, he spent the fall term running cross-country to be physically ready for his semester. “I have worked hard to be prepared for HMI,” Chen said. “I am ready for my adventure and for my new hero’s journey.”
As the only Chinese student in HMI, Chen is taking the opportunity to embrace other foreign cultures. “At SKS, I have some Chinese friends, but in HMI my new friends will come from America and Europe. Therefore, it is important for me to know how to deal with various relationships and situations. This is a challenge for me, but it is going to be good for me too,” he said.
The Rocky Mountain Institute offers an adventure and exposure to experiential education. Learning environments that encourage students to learn outside the traditional classroom are part of the experience that Chen is looking forward to. “I am really excited about going to HMI,” Chen said. “I know this is a unique experience for me and I am looking forward to trying new things. I know my courses will be hard and the out-door experiences will be new,” he added. “I expect the outdoor experience to be wonderful and I plan to see gorgeous scenery,” Chen said. “I am a little nervous about the weather. Even though I am used to living in the cold weather, the really cold temperatures at HMI will still be freezing for me,” he added.
“It takes a certain type of student who can see these opportunities and be willing to step out of his comfort zone, and these are the very qualities and characteristics that American colleges and universities value and that will lead to entrepreneurial and business success,” said Lyon. “Bohan is very excited and appropriately nervous - he will be asked to do things that he has never experienced before. He's ready to take on this adventure and we are very proud of him,” she added.