Anime, Thunderbird and the transition to American life for a Chinese student

Posted on 23. May, 2015 by in 中国留学生, 美国留学


Koko with her new red Thunderbird. The transition to the United States has been splendid.

By Polly Yang, a LCA sophomore

For two years, Koko Feng was a student from China at Lighthouse Christian Academy, and now she’s at Santa Monica College working towards a degree in graphic design.

“High school at LCA was a free place; the relationship between teachers and students are more life friends,” Koko said. “College is not like that. You get dropped from class if you don’t show up for three times.”

A native of Beijing, Koko and her family wanted her to study in the United States to broaden her experiences. She wanted to study art and thought the education in America would be better for that.

Chinese high school student

On a school trip with her fellow Chinese to Utah. Kara is to the left, and Angela is immediately to the right of Koko.

“My parents wanted me to go outside of China and see the world,” Koko said. “We like to travel a lot.”

Koko applied through a cultural exchange visa and got connected with Lighthouse in 2012. She studied for a year and impressed her teachers, so she got invited back for one more year. She invited two friends from home, Kara and Angela.

In March 2013, Koko used her flair with art to win the Los Angeles County Office of Education art contest with a charcoal portrait of her classmate. She won art supplies and bragging rights.

Chinese church in America

With fellow Chinese students in Santa Monica | Lighthouse Christian Academy

A natural linguist, she studied Japanese – mostly by watching Anime.

“America is a great nation. I’m glad I can come here to study,” Koko said.

Lighthouse worked as a great transition into the American college system.

“Things that LCA teachers taught us were actually very useful in college,” she said. “Sometimes when the professor teaches something I already know from high school, I feel very proud.”


With her god friend, Daniella, Koko Feng at the Lighthouse Christian Academy’s Senior Dinner.

What’s been the hardest experience here in America? Passing the driver’s license test. “I think the examiner was really mean,” she said. Then she bought a red Thunderbird and passed the test. Maybe it was the car that made the difference, she said.

While passing the driver’s test stumped Koko twice, she hasn’t had problems passing her academic classes.

Another tough experience is choosing classes and signing up on time.

Chinese art student high school

Koko applies her artistic talents and her humor upon herself in this photoshop job.

“In China we don’t really get a chance to choose our classes,” Here you have to make your decisions. If you make the wrong decision you get sent back to China. If I have less than 12 units, my visa is incomplete. I have to have 12 units.”

Lighthouse also helped Koko to learn how to make friends in America. “It helps a lot,” Koko said. “If you get friends in high school, you get used to talking to Americans in English. You also know what they prefer to talk about.”

What do Chinese talk about that Americans don’t? Food. “I think you guys don’t care about food that much, but we’re real excited to find a new Chinese restaurant,” she said.

Chinese high school student wins LA County art contest

The day she won the Los Angeles County Education Office art contest. Koko poses with her teacher, Jennifer Scribner.

Koko will be applying to the first choice 4-year institution, the School of Art Institute of Chicago next Spring.

She hopes to work in the United States for a few years and then work in animation in Japan. “I like animation, and Japan is a very interesting country,” Koko said.

“Also it’s kind of boring here,” she explained. “If you are hungry at 1 a.m., you can’t go anywhere. There’s nobody on the street. There’s only drunk people or homeless people on the street, and it’s not safe. In Japan you can go out and eat anytime you want. There’s always people around you.”

Koko recommends Lighthouse for foreign students. “It’s really small, so people care about you,” Your teacher and your classmates know you personally. In China that doesn’t happen. Even it he would want to get to know you, he can’t. He has 45 students in the classroom.”

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11 Responses to “Anime, Thunderbird and the transition to American life for a Chinese student”

  1. polly

    23. May, 2015


  2. Polly

    23. May, 2015

    Type your comment here…

  3. polly

    23. May, 2015

    学校简直赞到没话说 呵呵哒 祝未来要在这学校读书的美国留学生好好享受!!!

  4. henry

    23. May, 2015


  5. kaize kong

    26. May, 2015


  6. Magdalena

    27. May, 2015

    It is a beautiful thing to meet new people
    And we at the lighthouse church
    Have been bless by the new students from China
    It is wonderful to know of the accomplishment of Koko and the plans for her future I am glad she had a good experience at the Lighouse Academy
    And was able to share it with her friends
    May God continue to bless her here in America and where ever she goes in the world.may the memories be a blessing to her and her friend.

  7. Magdalena

    27. May, 2015

    My son Joshua attended
    The Lighthouse Preschool,
    Kinder, Elementary
    And and he Graduated from
    The Lighthouse Acadamy
    We have been with
    The Lighthouse Church and School
    Since he was nine months old.
    He is 20 years old now.

  8. adrian

    02. Jun, 2015

    really nice car

  9. Sophia

    08. Jun, 2015

    She is an amazing artist

  10. Will

    10. Jun, 2015

    It was such a great time getting to know Koko during her stay here at Lighthouse, I hope she can receive many more blessings in her future to come

  11. Keira

    15. Feb, 2016

    For those who make a smooth transition, it can be an insanely beautiful experience. Even for those who go through a tough transition, it can still be a beautiful experience, as long as we offer the right support system to help them get to the end of the tunnel!

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