By Gabriel Lee,
As an eighth grader, June Yang was quiet, timid and almost invisible, which is not uncommon for an international student coming to America for the first time. With no time to transition, he soon found himself in the unfamiliar setting that was Davis High.
DHS was where Yang truly adapted to the United States.
“In the beginning the hardest subjects were English and history,” Yang said. “For a lot of the stuff, this was the first time I had even heard of it. It was also where I really felt the language barrier.”
However, this barrier also motivated Yang to learn more about the culture and language of the United States.
“I ended up studying less and socializing more, but I don’t regret it at all,” Yang said.
Yang, who is now 21 years old, also noticed stark differences between the school system in America and that of his home country South Korea.
“The curriculum in America was based far more upon learning,” Yang said. “For example, in math, the fact that I was receiving credit for showing my work was a completely new concept.”
Throughout his years at DHS, Yang was involved in a number of clubs and extracurricular activities, including Mu Alpha Theta, CSF, a math club on campus and orchestra before graduating in 2014.
Yang has recently begun attending a graduate school in Germany, having received his degree from UC Davis in three years in mathematics. He is a student at Göttingen University, where he continues to study mathematics.
Yang believes that his experience as a foreign student at DHS will serve him well in Germany. However, he also understands there will be differences.
“In graduate school, I know I’ll be spending most of my time around other math majors,” Yang said. “This can be helpful but also restricting from a social perspective.”
In addition to the specialized demographic of his major, Yang is aware of the other challenges he will face.
Although the program Yang is taking at Göttingen is taught in English, the language barrier will still be present off-campus. However, Yang has studied German in preparation for this obstacle.
“I know I just need to be ready for whatever comes my way,” Yang said.
Due to his independence and motivation, former DHS classmate and friend Ju-A Son believes Yang will find success.
“The thing about [Yang] is that he is extremely self-motivated and independent,” Son said. “He always believes he needs to take charge of his own life.”