Weiling Zhang, a sophomore at the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, yearned to communicate with more conviction and verve than her peers back home — the “American way,” she said.
Yijia Shi, a freshman, wanted to increase her chances of an acceptance letter from Brown University. And Meng Yuan, a junior, was seeking Western-style independence, not to mention better shopping. When she is not heading to track practice or doing her homework, she is combing Bergdorf Goodman for Louis Vuitton limited edition handbags and relishing in the $295 tasting menu at the celebrated Columbus Circle restaurant Per Se.
New York City private schools have always been the province of the city’s young and wealthy, students whose home lives and educations can inspire both disdain and envy. But these students are the children of Shanghai real estate magnates, shipping giants, luxury hotel owners and doctors from coastal regions bordering the East China Sea. They are also part of a small, but growing, cadre of teenagers from wealthy families in China who are attending school in New York City.