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A high school senior sitting in my writing workshop asked me today if teenagers in the United States are very different from teenagers in China. She represented most of the Chinese teachers and students I’ve talked with when she said, “I think American teenagers are free and do not feel stress.” I explained that most teenagers in my country work hard to get good grades and to perform well in extracurricular activities in order to get scholarships because college is absurdly expensive. There are some teenagers who are lazy; however, their future opportunities are limited.

I was taking pictures of the people shopping in the streets last week when I heard these boys shouting that they wanted me to take their picture. When I look at this image, I see teens who could live anywhere in the United States.

IMG_8902We are more alike than different.