While some MCLA students experience other cultures by traveling overseas to study, those who remain on campus have opportunities to interact with others from around the globe who have joined our campus community for a semester or two. This year, two students from Hebei University and five from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade are at MCLA. This profile is the second of series looking at college life at MCLA, as several of these Chinese students see it.
As an English major who wants a career in international business, it was imperative for Zizhe "Zelene" Pan '14, who is from Shijiazhuang City in the Hebei Province of China, to study abroad in an English-speaking country. Thanks to an articulation agreement between Hebei University and MCLA, Pan took the opportunity this fall to study here at our campus.
According to Pan, MCLA is the perfect college for her to improve her English skills because of the campus's advanced facilities, as well as its excellent teachers and flexible curriculum, which ensure that the College maintains the highest of standards.
"My foreign teachers [at Hebei University] are graduated students of MCLA, and they all love MCLA. They told me about the active, friendly and happy atmosphere here, where I am sure I will lay a solid foundation for my future career and my whole life," Pan said.
This semester, Pan is studying microeconomics, marketing, intercultural communication, and a course on "The Personal Essay."
"I want to be a businesswoman, so microeconomics and marketing give me the basic knowledge of business and the economy. Intercultural communication helps me learn how to communicate with different people from different countries. It is very useful in such a global time," she explained.
Besides improving her English skills, Pan wanted to visit another country to help her learn more about the world.
"Experiences with a different culture and different things can deepen your understanding of yourself. Also, a university education in America is very helpful for individual career development with the training of creativity and leadership," she said.
While at MCLA, Pan lives in the Berkshire Towers residence hall in a room she shares with an American roommate.
"I like to make friends with Americans, so I joined Berkshire Tower's advisory board and the Asian Club," she said. "I have meals with my Chinese friends and we sometimes hang out together. But during class times I have more conversations with Americans."
Pan considers herself a bridge between Hebei University and MCLA, as she talks to MCLA students about China and Hebei students about the U.S.
She's changed quite a bit since coming to campus in that she's learned how to better plan her time and her life. "I have to make my own decisions about almost everything. I am more independent."
China, Pan explained, is an old country which advocates peace and harmony. "Chinese people are friendly to people around the world," she said.
Likewise, the best thing about America, according to Pan, is that the people here, too, are friendly and gentle.
At MCLA, "People help hold the door. People say thank you every time and everywhere. People are willing to help others. And, the cars always let walkers go first. That really surprises me."