Stella (Xinyi) Zhu instantly engages with the camera: “Today is a very special day for me—I’m so happy to receive an offer from Fryeburg Academy—it’s my ideal school, my dream come true. . . I won’t let you down!”
Harry (Junru) He also received an offer from Fryeburg: “I feel very fortunate, so I prepared a song for everyone,” he says in Chinese. He turns from the camera and starts to play an original composition on a piano in a room filled with books, family pictures, and mementos.
How Stella and Harry, high school students from Shanghai and Guangzhou, fare as juniors and seniors in an elite American prep school is the subject of Maineland, a compassionate documentary that looks at the growing population of Chinese and foreign students in the US. An excellent addition to libraries and classrooms for student, teacher, and community viewing, this film invites discussion on a range of topics, including why students embark on study abroad, how classroom perspectives shift for both newcomers and locals, and what the long-term effects of global exchange mean for the future of education and building cultural empathy.