Janna Spinazola Visits Tokyo and Shanghai

Ting Qiao, Janna, Headmaster of Fudan HS.  

Hello! Konnichiwa! Nihaw!

Recently in Admissions, we decided to travel overseas for international recruiting. In Japan, PMC has established relationships that go back to the first decades of the College. We decided to strengthen those relationships and establish new ones for the College as well as for our English Language Institute (ELI).

A first-year PMC student from Shanghai, China, Ting Qiao, helped me to connect with a number of teachers from her high school and as well as several others from the region. For this reason, it made sense to add Shanghai to the trip and seek new connections there. Fortunately, the trip coincided with PMC’s winter break. Ting had returned home and was able to assist me in Shanghai as my translator and guide.

I visited a number of organizations for PMC and ELI. Also, to gain some insight to the visa process in China, I added a visit to the American Consulate in Shanghai. I left Boston and I arrived in the ultra-modern city of Tokyo with its 12.6 million people compared to our 600,000 Bostonians. I was fascinated. My only concern was making it to every appointment and being on time.

Though the subways were clean and efficient, I must say that the intricate system was daunting! People stood in single file to get on the trains; subways arrived every few minutes; and people kept cell phones off while inside. Plus, few street signs or building numbers were visible. Though I prepared as best I could and carried a sense of adventure, I’m truly grateful to the kind people in Tokyo who helped keep me on track.

In Tokyo, I was warmly welcomed by old PMC and ELI friends including TJKC, Mushashino University, NCN, and JA Study Abroad. In addition, I visited schools and organizations. I was fortunate to meet one-on-one with advisors, greet headmasters, and give classroom presentations.

On to Shanghai.

A bustling city of 16.7 million quite different from Boston! The whole city seemed to be under construction. Clearly the city was pumped up for the upcoming 2010 World Expo. The 100th country had just indicated participation, and the city was jubilant. Shanghai is growing rapidly and ever-improving its infrastructure.

Bicycles are the primary mode of transportation in the city, and from my observations pedestrians do not have the right of way. I honestly believe that if you can drive in Shanghai, you can drive in Boston. As “tour guide” Ting was very helpful. We made several appointments visiting schools and the US Consulate. The highlight of our effort was visiting Ting’s high school, Fudan Experimental, where we gave a presentation to a huge auditorium of students.

In review, I feel I was warmly received in both cities. People were energized by PMC’s mission and good work we are doing. It’s evident that the overseas students that I met are looking for a quality education in a supportive and safe environment. It was wonderful to refresh established relationships in Japan and make new connections there and in Shanghai.

As a result of this trip, I am excited about recruiting students in both locations. In our ever-increasing global community, PMC’s work is well-regarded. We just need to get out there and keep spreading the word.