From Taiwan and onto the football field, Elvin’s experience at LCA

Posted on 03. Sep, 2015 by in Christian school in Santa Monica, LCA News, News, 中国留学生

study in america | TaiwaneseBy Elvin Chen, a student from Taiwan in 2014-15

My school in Taiwan was 3,000 students – all boys, so when I came to Lighthouse Christian Academy with only 45 students, a co-ed school, I was surprised. As a Taiwanese who wanted to study in the America, I never imagined I would wind up at  a high school that was so tiny.

When I met my host family, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, Pastor Zach is so strong. His muscles are so big. I will need to be careful and not make him mad or he will beat me up.”

Actually, Zach Scribner is extremely nice. I never had problem with him. He was also a teacher at the Lighthouse high school – and he was the coach of the football team (hence, the muscles).

study in America | Taiwan

With the #77 jersey, taking a knee in the huddle next to Coach Zach Scribner

As he was my host father, it wasn’t easy to get out of football. At first I thought football would be fun to try, even though I had never seen a football before.

After the first practice, however, I thought, “I’m done with that. I must quit in order to survive. I will never do this.”

But quitting wasn’t that easy. Pastor Zach was my host father – I couldn’t let him down. And the team didn’t have enough players without me. The guys needed me. These were my new American friends, and I couldn’t let them down either.

study in America | travel

Middle in the back, next to Principal Jack Mefford (with yellow cap), in Yosemite National Park.

At first, I decided to try a little loner. I ended up staying for the whole season, and I realized football is awesome. Even thought I got blisters every game, I loved it. It wasn’t Lighthouse’s strongest season. In fact, we lost just about every game. But I kept learning and getting better. When we finally won a game, I knew that I had played a part.

After the football season, I joined the soccer team. I had never played before, but I wanted to lose some weight. In the beginning I was really confused about what I should do. I made terrible passes. When we played “monkey in the middle,” I was always in the middle.

中国留学生

With his host family: Coach Zach Scribner and Hillary.

As the season progressed, I was able to control the ball better and starting blocking people. I played defense and helped the team. I really enjoyed playing, and I lost five pounds.

In February, our school made a ski trip to Utah, which was my favorite because Taiwan is a tropical country with no snow ever.  My first time skiing was great. I fell down less than five times. After skiing the first day, I tried sledding the next. That was cool. The snow was really puffy. When I jumped in the snow, it felt so comfortable.

After the Utah trip, swim season began. Again, I wanted to lose weight. The first day of practice was scary. The pool was so deep; I couldn’t reach the bottom.  Actually, I wasn’t a good swimmer, and I was scared I would drown in the pool. But after practicing, I was not scared any more. I kept getting faster and faster, better and better.

美国留学

At far left, in choir class

The next highlight was the trip to the East Coast in April.  It was full of new places and history and new people. My favorite place was the Statue of Liberty. The boat ride to the island was so beautiful; you can see the entire City of New york at one time.

On this trip, we slept at Pastor Adrian Rodriguez’s house.  He is a pastor in Connecticut who was sent to plant a church by the Lighthouse Church, the parent organization for the high school. We stayed in his house five days, with the boys sleeping in the basement. If the truth be told, a lot of the time we weren’t sleeping. We were talking and making friendships that would last a lifetime.

On Sunday, Pastor Adrian took us to his church, which is attended mostly by Muslims. That was curious. His wife is from Iraq, so she speaks their language. They are immigrants from Iraq. It was interesting to talk to them and learn about their culture.

I learned that no matter what race you are, no matter what language you speak, no matter where you come from, we are all the family of the church, and everyone is a treasure of God.

The last school trip was rafting on the river in the mountains. It was my first time camp, and it was amazing. After rafting in the morning, everyone pushed each other into the cold water. It was a lot of fun horsing around. I saw some baby ducks following their mom in the river. At night we sat around the campfire, talking and sharing the experience.

美国留学

With his helmet on his elbow, #77, Elvin on the football field.

LCA is much more that academics. It is a family, and it is fun. These are experiences that enriched me and broadened my horizons. Of course, I improved my English. I learned to think critically. I learned American history and all the regular subjects.

But I also learned people’s perspectives in other countries. I gained friends in America. I saw and experienced many places in America. When I walked into the airport to fly home at the end, I realized I will never, never forget my 1-year adventure at LCA.

* Editor’s Note: Elvin Chen studied at LCA 2014-15. If you would like to study high school in America (in Santa Monica, California), find out more and contact us by clicking here.

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