We have a new student blogger at ISSS and we're very excited to introduce her! Qianyu Cheng will be blogging with us this Spring and sharing her experiences as a sophomore at U of I.
By Qianyu Cheng
Hi! My name is Qianyu. I am a sophomore major in Actuarial Science at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and I am an international student from China.
As a student in University of Illinois, it is easy to discover the cultural diversity on campus. When I was in high school, all my classmates are from the same town. We all grow up in the same city and share the similar experience. So when I first found out about the diversity, I was surprised: just at my first lecture, the students sit in a same lecture hall are from all over the world. Isn’t that amazing! You can meet and get to know the people from the other side of the world!
However, at first I found it hard to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people who have the different culture background. Maybe because I was so used to speaking to people who share similar background as me, it was really hard for me to begin talking. Especially when I first arrived in campus, everything is different: different language, different food and different people. And although I was now in U.S., my heart was still in my hometown. I spent much time Skype with my parents and friends. What’s more, I was afraid of talking to others in English because I didn’t know if my choice of word was polite or appropriate enough. However, I decided to make some change. What is the point of studying aboard if I am not willing to try out new things and get to know new people?
So gradually, I was willing to open up to the new environment. And once I made up my mind, it went on easier than I expected. As the start, I joined several student organizations like major related club and interest related club, to get more involved on campus. Additionally, I tried to step out of comfort zone and open up to new things. Sooner or later, I found it fascinating to learn about something new about the other culture everyday. There exists much resource on campus to help out too, especially in university housing. In each dormitory there is a multicultural advisor who works specially for communication in different culture. Many activities in the dorm involved cultural communication and mingling too, and it is not only fun but also really helped me to get to know other culture better. Learning is a process. It’s always okay to make mistakes and learn from it instead of not trying at all.