Change marks understanding in new journey

Senior Michelle Yan Lius journy through life took her from her childhood home in the East, to a new life in the West.

Special to the Chart

Senior Michelle Yan Liu’s journy through life took her from her childhood home in the East, to a new life in the West.

Scott Hasty

New experiences makes the life of one Chinese immigrant to the United States “interesting,” said Michelle Yan Liu, senior at Missouri Southern. One of the many new experiences she has had in the United States is watching football.

“Watching two guys pushing each other is kind of weird,” Liu said.

Native to Fuhjia, China, Liu immigrated to Springfield, MO. Liu then came to Southern first as a business major until she changed to an international studies major.

“I found business to not be that interesting when I took accounting,” Liu said. “When I fell asleep in class, I found I wanted to change my major.”

Liu said there are many differences between the American and Chinese cultures.

“[Compared to American culture, Chinese culture] is not that open,” she said. “We don’t talk that much, we don’t kiss each other in public, and we don’t speak or laugh loudly.”

Liu also described how China can be “crowded” compared to the United States and how Chinese students are “very competitive” academically.

“Just to get into a college in China, you have to pass high school,” she said. “And, of course, in China you would not get a grant. In America, there’s more freedom and more help for stuff like that here than in China.”

For Liu, the changes from one culture to was not difficult

“Right now China is changing,” Liu said. “China is now experiencing Western cultures. Since Western cultures are now having some [influence] in China, it’s not that weird for me to see something weird.”

Liu is currently taking 20 credit hours in hopes of graduating in December 2006.

“After I get done with school here, I’m thinking about going back to China,” Liu said. “Even though it’s a long, long way to go, I’m looking forward to going back.”

Facing a new culture and a new kind of people has been “interesting” for her.

But, she said trying to understand a new culture is not as easy as trying to understand a new language, one must understand the people as well.

“Studying in a second language is really hard,” Liu said. “You have to put a lot of time and patience into it.

“You have to think about the fact that some people might laugh at you and have to think whether those people think you’re stupid or not. You just have to learn to pad on through that.”