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International Student of the Month - October 2012 Kan Wu

Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduce one international student by presenting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to intnl@lehigh.edu.

This month, ISS Graduate Assistant, Aftan Baldwin, interviewed Kan (Kenna) Wu, a first year student from China. The following is the interview and pictures that Kenna shared with us.

(Kenna with her American host family and her parents in Beijing, China)

Q: First Kenna, would you briefly introduce yourself? Tell me what you are studying at Lehigh and when you will graduate.

A: Okay, I came from northeast of China and I plan to major in civil engineering or environmental engineering. Since I’m a freshman now, I will graduate in 2016, apparently. I love to laugh, and I enjoy my life.

Q: What do you think about Lehigh, like campus, the dorm, and the courses. What are the most obvious differences between Lehigh and your home universities?

A: I think Lehigh is so much better than my expectation. The dorm is really nice. Although it doesn’t have an air conditioner, it doesn’t matter. The campus is so beautiful. I was really shocked when I first came here. Some people do mind to climb up and down the hills, but I don’t, because I want to tone myself, like my body, my shape. The classes are in small sizes, not really huge.  This was one of the reasons I picked Lehigh.  Yeah, I don’t really like big-sized classes. That’s horrible. Some students cannot even see the professors at all the whole semester. Umm, speaking of the universities in China, since I only attended a part-time course in Shenzhen University, I don’t really know what Universities in China are like.  My parents wanted me to be here because they think education here is better than that in China. In China, we have a really heavy workload in high school, so once the students get to college, they don’t study hard anymore. Some students don’t go to class, because they will get a degree anyways. I think college life is more stressful here, but I enjoy it. Teachers and professors here tend to train us to be creative and thoughtful, which is something we don’t learn in China.

Q: Describe what daily life is like in your home country, China.

A: I live in an apartment in China. Every day I went to school and then back to our apartment. We didn’t have many field trips at school. In high school, I used to go to school from 7am to 10:30pm, so we really didn’t have much more time to do anything else. We even need to use our spare time to prepare for the tests. During the weekends, I sometimes hang out with friends. We could go to KTV, go to movies, go shopping, and then have dinner together. Oh, we sometimes go to parks, too.


Q: What do you miss about China?

A: Food. I miss Chinese food. Chinese food here is not real Chinese food, not at all. I miss my mom’s home cooking. I also miss my family. Actually I enjoy my life here a lot, so I’m not really homesick. Maybe because I have been here for a year, so I am kind of used to being away from my family.

Q: If someone was going to visit your country, what would you tell them to do there?

A: I think firstly I would tell them to go to some places of interest in China, because they are really really really gorgeous. To be particular, I think the Great Wall is definitely a great place to visit and the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an is worth visiting too. If I remember correctly, they are two of the eight wonders of the world. There are also a lot of mountains with amazing sceneries in China that are well known throughout the world. Next I would like to warn people who want to go to china about the traffic, because the traffic in China is really bad. It’s very crowded in China, as you may already know. When my host parents went to China, they couldn’t stand that they had to stay in line for half an hour, sometimes an hour, just to check out. They saw some drivers break the traffic rules, so they didn’t like the traffic in China at all. Traffic in China has been a good joke that they tell everybody they meet. Also I would suggest people to go there during Spring Festival, because it’s the biggest event in China. Many celebrations are held during that time of the year. Just be careful, many places will closed during spring festival.

Q: What food would you suggest that people try if they go to China?

A: We have so many different cuisines in China. I personally like every single dish in China, but if some people like spicy food, they should try Sichuan cuisine or Hunan cuisine.  If some people don’t really like spicy food, I think the northeast cuisine is pretty good, which I’m familiar. Basically all over China we eat rice and stir fries, just different kinds of stir fries. We eat steamed buns and noodles too. Honestly, I would say, try all sorts of food in China, because each region has its own special cuisine that is different from others, and they are all tasty. Back to that last question, I would suggest people to go to Sichuan province, to go to Chengdu and Chongqing. It’s really really pretty there and also the food there is so good. I just went there before I came to Lehigh. I didn’t even want to leave.

Q: What do you like about American culture?

A: I like American people here. I like Americans. You are really friendly and you don’t have discrimination towards Asian people. I like the relationships within the community. I lived in Easton for a year, and people there left an awesome impression. That’s why I am back again for college. When I walked the dog, anybody who saw me would say hi to me, and that never happens in China. I think people here are more straightforward. During the first and second weeks here I thought it was kind of hard to fit in the American society, because I don’t have anything in common to talk about with the American students and the language problems exist as well. They use a lot of slogans, which I’ve never heard of before. I, at first, didn’t really get along well with my roommate because of our different behaviors and habits. But now we have a good relationship, and we have made a deal that we are going to be roommates next year too. We really like each other now. We have the same interests and we both like to do community service.

Q: Have you participated in any activities held by ISS and what was your impression if you did?

A: I don’t think I participated in a lot. I just went to the International Student Orientation and I went to the Meet and Mingle before the orientation. I don’t remember anything else actually. I think people there are really nice and helpful. Whenever we ask questions, they answer them very patiently. They offer a lot of help to us international students. I really appreciate it.




Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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