Philippines to DC...In A Flash

Story by Marcel Gallion. Photos compliments of his friend, Zyl.

FNN Alumni Bureau: If you’re like me and you’ve lived in Washington, DC,  or anywhere in America, you’ve become accustomed to the lifestyle. We all go in the fast lanes in America. We try to make things easier for ourselves and we pretty much demand our own outcome. I was lucky enough to interview my friend Zyl who has a different story. Zyl is one of my best friends from high school. Her family moved to Washington, DC in 2012 for a better life and education.  I interviewed her to find out about the transformation from the Philippines to Washington, DC in 2012.

Marcel: What was it like moving from the Philippines to Washington, DC?

Zyl: The change was very drastic. I was in a third world country and then suddenly I was faced with bright lights from a developed one. Hence there are better opportunities here. Things aren't as big or as developed in the Philippines. Usually, the classrooms weren’t as fit or clean in the Philippines.

Marcel: How did you know you wanted to attend a DC/performing arts school?

Zyl: I have always been interested in the arts and a performing arts school would help me a lot. It helped me open up as a person, especially in my literature.

Marcel: Why did your family choose Washington, DC?

Zyl: Everything big happens in DC. it was either DC or New York and DC seemed like it would help us adapt to the USA.  We moved here for a better life and education.

Marcel: Do you enjoy your life in DC? Why or why not?

Zyl:I enjoy my life here—my friends, school and the culture. The only thing I hate is the humidity, and no it’s not because of my hair. I just hate the feeling of heavy air on my skin.

Marcel: Do you feel like a DC school affects your education in a positive or negative way?

Zyl: It has affected me, whether positive or negative, I can't say. My school gives me the ability to learn, but at the same time, it makes me very competitive.

Marcel: How does a DC school compare to your previous school in the Philippines?

Zyl: Obviously DC has more facilities and is cleaner. You might scoff but you haven't experienced a public school in a third world country. I went to an arts school back in the Philippines and I can say that DC has way more opportunities for budding artists. For instance, culture and inspiration. In Philippine schools, students were very competitive and the grading was very harsh. If you had one bad grade you would be looked down upon by everyone. The students were ‘teachers pets’ to the teachers and wanted a lot of attention. The kids were very stuck up and mean. The grading was very hard. You really had to overwork yourself to be considered smart. Compared to DC schools, it is competitive but the pressure isn’t as high.

Interviewing Zyl has given me the chance to understand how having your whole life change, can be for the better. It also has given me a newly found respect for students from other countries pursuing their education in academics and the arts.

Marcel Gallion is a rising 11th grader in the FNN Summer Program at Friendship Chamberlain Academy.