WHY A BOARDING EXPERIENCE

We're passionate about the benefits of a boarding experience at FSHA. Don't take our word for it though— here are a few of our current boarding students sharing why they love their time on the Hill.

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Life at a Boarding School Leads to Confidence and Leadership

I am Tasha Chiu, the president of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Boarding Council and the commissioner of boarding affairs in the Associated Student Body. I am from Hong Kong, and I came to FSHA as a sophomore. Coming to America, I left my home, culture, language and everything behind me, but I was thrilled about my new journey. I went through some rough times throughout the first few months of my transition at FSHA as I integrated into American culture while also dealing with homesickness. However, I soon started to enjoy my life on the Hill because I received tremendous love and support from my teachers and peers. More importantly, I have found a new family here during my boarding experience. Since then, I have had such a great time, and I would like to share with you more about life at a boarding school.
Tasha
Tasha Chiu '16
FSHA's boarding community consists mainly of international students, so the prospect of having the opportunity to engage in this global community is so exciting. I have met friends from America, China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia and the list simply goes on. In fact, there are five of us in my closest friend group, and all of us come from different countries, which I think is pretty cool.

My boarding experience has truly nurtured me to become a strong and independent young woman, as I have to be responsible for my everyday life and take good care of myself.
You cannot believe how much I have learned from my boarding experience. Living with sixty other boarding students has empowered me to learn to respect cultural differences and to embrace my fellow boarders with an open heart and open mind. Not only have I gotten to learn more about other people’s cultures and backgrounds, but I have also learned to understand myself better.

Continue reading Tasha's experience as a boarding student at FSHA on our blog.

If These Walls Could Talk

There are many traditions that go back decades at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, but none are more storied than the boarding program. After all, when FSHA opened on September 1, 1931, all 200 of its students lived in the same hallways where boarders sleep and study today. In the beginning, many of these students hailed from Southern California, but over the years, the reach of FSHA grew broader and broader. Today, most boarding students travel to the Hill from countries other than the United States. 

"Everyone’s so close [in the boarding hall]. Anything you need, you can ask anyone you find in the hall."
Each of these young women brings with her a background and culture much different than those of FSHA’s day students. But exactly how different? We sat down with four boarding Tologs to learn more about how they view the school and their experience here, and discovered that moving away from home and halfway around the world as teenagers has transformed them into mature, wise young women.

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What were your impressions of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy when you first got here?

    Erin Li: I could tell I would have life experiences here, because everybody seems to be independent, and they have their own opinions. So I thought, “Yeah, I can improve my worldview here.”

    Jane Chetty: When you tell people you’re going to America, and they ask where, and you say L.A., they’re like, “Whoa! L.A.! Like, you’re going to see One Direction all the time!” No, we do not get One Direction up on this Hill. Coming up here? It was a lot more calming than where I lived in Singapore, which has more buildings. It was insane to see a lot of mountains and greenery. It was nice, and the school was really pretty.

    Paloma Enrigue Rosales: I didn’t think FSHA would look like this. My mom came here and she told me it was up in the hills, but I didn’t imagine a hill like this.

    LinhDan Pham: Before I came here, I lived in Ohio, which is very flat. No ups and downs – nothing. My aunt used to live in California, up in Sacramento. She told me, “Oh, it’s hilly there, in the mountains,” and I thought, oh, a little mountain. But it’s big!
  • Q: What is your favorite part about living in the boarding hall?

    LinhDan: Everyone is so close. If you need help, you can just knock next door and say, “I need help!” In Ohio, I lived with my guardians and I could only see my friends at school, so I only knew them as school friends, not as personal, “let’s hang out” friends. But here, because you’re so close, you don’t even need to hang out. They’re just right there.

    Erin: I get to spend so much time with my roommates! We learn all about each other.

    Jane: People ask, “What do you do when you live here? Do you just stay here the entire time?” If I ever need to hang out with someone, I can just hit up one of my neighbors: “Hey, come over!”

    Paloma: Everyone’s so close. Anything you need, you can ask anyone you find in the hall.
  • Q: What’s your favorite subject?

    Jane: English. As I got higher and higher into English, the class became more concentrated and they’re more enthusiastic about what they’re doing, and it was cool to see how things relate to real life. We have interesting conversations because everything’s a matter of perception and you don’t know what something truly is because you’ve never questioned it.

    LinhDan: I’m a big science/math person, so I really like those two subjects, but at the same time, I hate those two subjects. There’s so much thinking!

    Erin: Geometry is my favorite. It’s kind of easy for me because last year, I was in algebra. I feel like it helped me cross this line, and geometry makes me more confident to study.

    Paloma: I like math. In Mexico, it’s so hard for me, but here it’s not that hard. There are still some things where I’m like, what IS this? But when I finally understand something, I’m like, YES!

    LinhDan: That’s like me and English. When you read a book, you think, “What is this?” But when you’re in a class discussion and people bring up an idea, you think, “BAM! It connects! So that’s what it means? Wow.”
  • Q: What’s your favorite memory so far?

    Erin: Everything! Though I do like choir a lot …

    Paloma: The girls that I’ve met. They are all different, but at the same time, you can relate with them, even though they’re not from your same country or have the same ideas or dreams that you have.

    LinhDan: When I leave here for college, and we don’t all go to the same college, I’m going to miss everyone so much. Some might go halfway across the world to study, or go back to China, or stay here.

    Jane: It’s moments when I’m alone and I think about how blessed I am just to be here. I always think, “Why me?” when there are so many other people who could be here and be in my position, but I feel like I’ve been blessed by God to be here where He’s really present in the people I meet every day and the life I live.
  • Q: Where do you see yourself going after you graduate?

    Erin: For me, I think I have talent in the arts, but in the future, I don’t think the arts would be very good for money or a job. I think I want to do something related to business in the future.

    Jane: I want to write two novels – one I want to publish when I’m 24, and one I’m want to try to get by the end of this year. The one I want to publish when I’m 24 is more about my life and what it’s like to progress through a lot of countries and the interesting people I’ve met along the way. I want to study psychology as well. As for college, I’ve always been a person who’s open to traveling to new places, but I want to be in the U.S. My parents want me to apply in the UK, Australia, India, Singapore and here, because they want me to have a lot of options.

    LinhDan: I want to stay in America. To be honest, the colleges in Vietnam are not that good. And I’ve been studying English for more than half my life. My English is good, so if I go back [to Vietnam], it’s going to be hard for me. I want to be a doctor.

    Paloma: I’m just staying here one year, for junior year, then I’m going back to Mexico. I want to study law there, then I might come back here and study something else.
  • Q: What expectations do your parents have of you while you’re here?

    Erin: They just want me to be happy and to be independent. It would be good to have good grades, but they don’t think it’s as important as it used to be. They used to have lots of [rules] because they thought I wasn’t independent enough. “You have to get good grades so you can have a good future.” But I think they’re much better. They want me to be happy in school.

    Paloma: They want me to learn more English, and they want me to see the world from a different perspective. They also want me to see different cultures and how people view the world, what they think.

    Jane: I feel like my parents gave me a lot of freedom in those terms. So in terms of grades, in terms of friends, in terms of sports– they trust what I do. But if something’s not OK, they’ll step in. I used to participate in sports before, but then it started affecting my grades – it wasn’t like my grades were bad; they just weren’t up to their full potential – so they said, “This year, you’re not doing cross-country, no water polo, don’t even think about track!”

    LinhDan: My parents, they’re very free. Before I went to America, they said, “Do you really want to go?” It wasn’t like they were forcing me. Jane: My parents have always said, “If you ever want to come back, just tell us. Just call us.”

    Paloma: They let me choose my school. They gave me the options, and I chose this one.
  • Q: And what expectations do you have for yourself?

    Paloma: I want to be more independent, because in Mexico, I always have someone who’s helping me or doing something for me, or if I don’t want to do something, they’ll do it for me. Here, it’s different.

    LinhDan: I’m a very carefree person, but I feel like I should be more responsible for what I do here, because it might affect me in the future – the choices that I make. Jane: What you do here is all you. When you’re at home, your parents are like, “Jane, you need to study! Get off the computer! Eat more veggies!” Here, you’ve got to do it for yourself, like “I have to eat the broccoli because I need it,” or “I have to do my homework, or it’s not going to be good tomorrow in class when I don’t know the answers.”

    LinhDan: Your parents are just there to support you. They’re not going to be there all of the time, even if you want them to.

    Erin: I want to learn more about religion. I’m not very religious, but I still have a relationship with God and I respect Him. I know He helps lots of people to create good personal characteristics. My parents also want me to have some relationship to religion because they’re Buddhists, and I think they’re very open-minded. They don’t want to force me to be a Buddhist – they just want me to have a religion. They think that if people have a religion, if you have problems, you can talk to God about what you should and should not do so you can get direction.

On the Hill ...

Boarding Faculty

List of 6 members.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is an all girls' Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory day and boarding high school in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. Overlooking Pasadena, FSHA educates girls from Los Angeles, Southern California and around the world for a life of faith, integrity and truth. 

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

440 St. Katherine Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Phone: 626-685-8300

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