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 third in a series looking at college life at MCLA, as several of these Chinese students see it.
After learning English in her homeland for several years, Qing "Angie" Huang '13 of Hangzhou, China, wanted to immerse herself in an English-speaking environment.
"Studying abroad offers a new perspective," explained Huang (pictured above on the far right, with other SIFT students who are studying this semester at MCLA). "One can experience local culture and life. One can make more friends. One can know what foreigners think of a particular political or economic issue. Also, traveling in another country is amazing. I can enjoy the beautiful scenery here, which is totally different from that in China."
At MCLA, Huang, who plans on graduate school and ultimately wants to become a consultant for government institutions, is taking courses in statistics and business, as well as "Math Methods for Economics" and "Global Problems."
An international trade and economic major at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT), Huang said that MCLA - besides being a small and quiet place to study - provides an atmosphere where she can fully participate in class discussion.
"I wanted to experience the culture and life of the United States," she said. "Also, I really enjoyed the lectures held in MCLA."
While Americans tend to be more open and active in classes, and speak up with their opinions during sometimes heated debates, Huang said Chinese students prefer to listen quietly and jot down what the teacher tells them.
"We are nonetheless similar in that we all can form our opinions to some questions. We can defend our stance, and we like to share our views," she said.
Huang joined all incoming students in reading author Sonia Nazario's "Enrique's Journey," before arriving on campus. The book tells the story of a Honduran boy's odyssey to reach his mother in the United States amid much hardship and peril.
Nazario then visited MCLA to talk to students. "I never imagined that I could meet the author in person and listen to her life story," Huang said.
"It is wonderful to live here," she continued. "American people are nice and open. Though, at the very beginning, I was not used to the food here and suffered homesickness. However, the warmness and kindness of people here comforted me."
Living in an on-campus residence hall allows Huang to further interact with American students. She also attends a number of activities held at the College. She plans to talk about her MCLA experiences with her classmates at SIFT, and encourage them to come to the campus to study, too.
While at MCLA, Huang has noticed that Americans are good about recycling. "The sorting and recycling system is well designed and operated here. It must be helpful and effective in reducing energy waste. I hope the Chinese government can invest more in projects like this," she said.
Huang has changed during her MCLA experience. She said she has gradually has learned the way Americans greet one another, socialize, and how they live, in general.
"For example, I think it is wonderful to attend birthday parties. People sing and laugh together. It is very enjoyable," she said.