Meet Yushen Xiang, a political science freshman. Although born in Beijing, Xiang, who goes by the American name of Christina, has lived in America since 2009, when she enrolled at a boarding school in Maine.
The Big Green: What drew you to America?
Yushen Xiang: “I came here for high school first, and I think the culture and education make me really wanna come here.”
TBG: What drew you to Michigan State?
YX: “I heard there’s an ice rink, ‘cause I do figure skating. I didn’t do figure skating during high school because we only have snow but we don’t have an ice rink. I was like, ‘Well, I’ll join the team,’ and so I just came here.
TBG: Are you on the team?
YX: “I was before but not right now. I just quit cause I had work to do.”
TBG : Did you go to a boarding school [for high school]?
YX: “Yeah….I lived on campus and we only had like 250 students. It [was] a small school. [We would] go snowboarding during winter trimester like every single day, and people there are really nice. I enjoyed my life there.”
TBG: What do you like about living on campus at Michigan State?
YX: “Its near the dining hall. I know Brody Square [near Rather hall, where Xiang lives] is the best dining hall on campus…I can go have dinner or lunch whenever I want, it’s just near my residential hall. I feel like its pretty convienent to live on campus, I can take buses to wherever I’m going to class…and I don’t need to worry about eating.”
TBG: Have you made any new friends on campus?
YX: “I have a couple friends.”
TBG: Can you talk a little bit about your culture at home in China?
YX: “There’s so many people in China, so it’s hard to findI have friends back in China, but it’s different, actually with American people. When I went to high school I felt like Americans are really friendly…you can talk to them, you don’t have to think about it too much. When I talk to Chinese [people] , I have [to be careful].”
TBG: Like manners-wise?
YX: “Yeah. And the education is definitely [different]. Like in China, we have large classes and many students, teachers wont care about you…you just do your work by yourself. But like in America…has a good enviorment for me to study.”
TBG: What are some other difference between life home and life here?
YX: “Well..I became more independent since I came here, since my parents are not here. Like, when I was at home, my mom[did] everything for me…she washed the clothes, and [cooked] breakfast, dinner, for me. I just need to care about my studies, I don’t need to care about anything else. But since I’ve been here… I’ve had to take care of myself. But, I think I’ve learned a lot. I have to do that, because when I get into society I have to do everything by myself.”
TBG: What’s your favorite part about being in America, or what has been over the past few years?
YX: “Culture and making a lot of friends. The openess [of the culture]…and I can make choices by myself. I can do whatever I want… in China, most Chinese students are doing what their parents want them to do. I was like, what I want to do is that thing that I can do very well.”
TBG: What about American culture has surprised you the most?
YX: “Teachers are more friendly…. Not right now, but when I first came to the United States. I had an advisor in high school and [she] was like my mom. [She was] just like family, [she] cared not only about my school and academic work but also my life, like helped me get involved into American culture.
TBG: How has your experience at Michigan State been so far?
YX: “Pretty good. My major [is] political science, so I was planning to transfer to another college…but I’m still working on it right now. I want to go to to George Washington because they have a good major. If I successfully transfer to that school, I’m going to go there, but if I fail again, then I think I’m going to stay here.”
TBG: What do you miss the most about home?
YX: “Food! Athough I love the food here, but it’s kind of different. The Chinese rice they have here… it’s good, but [it’s] not real Chinese food.”
TBG: What are your future plans?
YX: “I want to get a job that can connect both America and China… like international relations. I know that I’m gonna miss my mom, I might stay in America, but I want to be able to travel between the United States and China.”