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 first of series looking at college life at MCLA, as several of these Chinese students see it.
After two years at Hebei University in China's Baoding City, Jin "Colette" Huang is immersing herself in American culture and the English language at MCLA. It's a great opportunity, she said, to look into the country, its people and its culture, especially since her possible career goals include teaching English as a second language or becoming an English professor.
While Huang notes that she is similar to her American MCLA peers with regard to many of their interests and tastes, there are a number of differences.
"The biggest difference, I think, is we have a different way of thinking and look at things from different perspectives," Huang said. "China has always been a big issue in American foreign policies. During the election, I heard a lot about different opinions from both candidates, and I think Obama was friendlier and has milder policies toward my country.
"Of course, he also has to do what is right for his country and protect America's economy," she continued. "To a lot of American people, China is a place where we hire women at a very poor salary and manufacture almost all the stuff, especially cheap products. However, as a Chinese [citizen] I would like to tell people that this is not all about China. China is also trying to break away from its current role in global economy, transferring its factories to other Asian countries like the Philippines and South America, and making great progress to protect workers' rights.
"We are in a time of great change and innovation, and I think it's very important that China and America join hands to provide more quality goods for the world, and to create a win-win trade relation."
Huang shares her perspective and different opinions with those in her classes. "I talk to people about the real China, and I will also tell my friends about the real America when I go back to my country, and encourage them to study abroad."
"Getting involved in a different culture, which I could never learn from books and Hollywood movies, interests me the most," she said. "Also, going to an American college and receiving an education different from what we have in China also is very attractive to me."
At MCLA, Huang is taking classes in writing, sociology, anthropology, as well as a course on "Education and Society."
The classes have "broadened my horizon," she said. "Back in China I've never taken anything like these. In my education class, I'm learning a lot about American education, and I think it will be very helpful if I become a teacher."
Her studies at MCLA mark Huang's first time abroad. She said that perhaps the most surprising thing she has learned about America is how many people from different backgrounds call this country their home, and how accepting and tolerant toward diversity the campus community is.
Her time at MCLA made her more confident, Huang said, especially due to the encouragement she receives from her professors and friends.
"I will definitely recommend studying abroad," she said. "It will give you unforgettable, exciting experiences and opens new opportunities. You can meet interesting people from all over the world, learn about different cultures and languages, have one more thing to put in your resume or application, and also travel!"