An interview with an international exchange student

Rebecca Meyers | Lifestyle editor

Western is home to students from all over the world. Some of them come through international exchange programs, and came into Fall Term only having studied America in textbooks. They face the challenge of studying in a foreign language in a place many of them have never been to. During their time here, they will hopefully get to know more Western students and share some of their culture in return.

Due to their outside perspective, I was curious as to what Western and Monmouth look like from the standpoint of an exchange student. To answer this, I had a chat with Krystal Wang, a foreign exchange student from Shanghai, China. She arrived here in early September, just before Fall Term started, and is a senior business major.

My first questions had to do with first impressions. I asked what she had noticed early into her visit here.

“The homework,” she told me. According to her, the workload for students here is heavier than she is used to, and Chinese students are not assigned as much outside of the classroom. She also mentioned that the Western campus was big compared to her campus back in China, a detail I found interesting as it is considered relatively small here.

I then asked what Wang missed most so far from her hometown.

“Chinese food. I like hamburgers, but other things I am not very accustomed to.”

When I asked what she liked about Monmouth so far, she commented that, “I like the sunshine, and the air is cleaner here,” adding that “In my town, the industry makes the air less clean.”

As an Oregonian, I was not used to people saying they liked our state for the sunshine. However, it was a nice reminder to enjoy some things I take for granted, like our relatively mild weather and fresh air.

Another similar reminder came with her answer to my next question of what surprised her about our country.

“Maybe the atmosphere in the classroom…[There is] more freedom. We can voice our opinions. Where I’m from, we mostly just listen to what the teacher says.”


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Photo courtesy of Rebecca Meyers