Moving to U.S. brings exciting opportunities


Gazebo Photo by Sabina Ajjan

Sophomore Annie Shih started school at Stratford two weeks after moving to the United States from Costa Rica

Moving to Macon was something I had never pictured happening in my life. I always thought I would complete high school in Costa Rica and then seek colleges anywhere in the United States, Canada, or Europe.

This wasn’t the case. This past February, my father commented about the idea of having my brother, and I move to another country to complete our last years of school before college. His plan consisted of having my brother, my mom, and I move while he stayed back home to work since he is an OB/GYN and professor at the University of Costa Rica.

This event in my life marked a 180-degree turn, which I’m eager to keep enduring.”

— Annie Shih

Since I was a young girl, I had dreamed of studying abroad. I endeavored to have the possibility to one day live in another country such as the United States and hopefully attend college there due to its quality education and a wide range of opportunities. 

During the next few months, my dad spent time researching numerous private schools around the country.

He scrutinized prices, scores, comments, security, and proximity to central locations (such as airports, restaurants, supermarkets, amongst other locations). After doing extensive research on several schools, he selected the main ones he preferred and had us check them out so we could decide. 

After looking through these schools, we concluded that Stratford Academy was an outstanding candidate as it met our expectations and is located in a well-disposed and calm city like Macon. As a family, we took our definitive choice to attend Stratford around the end of May. However, there were still numerous procedures and paperwork we had to complete before moving. 

This process took a long time since we had to balance vacationing and friends with training for a challenging upcoming chess tournament at the beginning of July, as well as guitar and mandarin classes. 

Likewise, we also had to go to several physician appointments to do final checkups and make sure everything was all set. By the time everything was nearly fulfilled, it was after mid-July. 

My dad decided to give us time to prepare and purchased the plane tickets for our departure for August 6. He would be joining us for the first two weeks as we got used to the surroundings, found a place to live, bought furniture, and would then return. 

The school year was going to begin Aug. 14 considering orientation day. The transition from San José, Costa Rica to Macon, Georgia, was prompt, yet there wasn’t much difficulty adapting. The days previous to the start of school, we drove around to get to know the surroundings better as well as the school, whose admissions office staff received us with a cordial welcome and amiableness. 

During the first days of school, I noticed how the staff and student body was remarkably convivial and assisted me throughout those days so I could get well-adjusted to the schedule and the campus. 

Something I esteemed about Stratford was the abundancy of course choices, electives, sports, clubs, and opportunities available for students. I feel very proud to be part of the Stratford community as well as gratification for this splendid chance I got in my life; this event in my life marked a 180-degree turn, which I’m eager to keep enduring.